Winter Haven, Florida -- A school is in mourning after a beloved teacher died in a car crash while giving a student a ride home.
Shirelle Baldwin was giving her student Taniea Baldwin a ride home from school around 4:45 p.m. on Thursday. At the intersection of Highway 92 and Highway 17 their car was hit by 22-year-old Christopher Fugua after her ran a red light.
Though teacher and student share the same name they are not related.
Taniea Baldwin survived and was released from the hospital but was later readmitted due to the overwhelming grief from seeing her teacher die.
Staff members say 44-year-old Shirelle Baldwin was a dedicated teacher who never thought twice about giving a student a ride home from New Beginnings High School, where she taught reading.
Staff members say Mrs. Baldwin never left school early but on Thursday she asked for permission to go because she wanted to get home to cook for her children, but not before giving Taniea a ride home.
Taniea's sister Shandral Turner says for some reason Mrs. Baldwin favored her sister. She says she, her mother and her sister moved to Winter Haven a few months ago and Mrs. Baldwin went out of her way to help her sister.
Turner says her sister is heart broken. "Her body might not be hurt but my sister is hurt emotionally and physically." She says the day her sister witnessed her teacher's death was the same day 9 years ago when she witnessed her father's death in Alabama. He was killed when a horse ran over him right before a horse show.
With tears in her eyes Taylor explains that her sister feels responsible for her teacher's death and she's taking it hard. "Everybody tells her that it's not her fault but she still feels that way and I don't think anybody can change her mind about that."
Taylor hopes the loss doesn't set her sister back. She smiles and says Taniea was getting a fresh start in life and Mrs. Baldwin was helping her along the way. She says, "When she came home from school she had a story every day from school and it was always something about Mrs Baldwin."
Ashlee Wright, the principal of New Beginnings High School says, "We are devastated by this news. Mrs. Baldwin was a good teacher and person, and she will be missed greatly. We have lost a valuable member of the New Beginnings family."
Shirelle Baldwin leaves behind a husband, 2 sons, and a daughter. A staff member tells 10 News that Shirelle's husband was just as dedicated to helping students and many times they would open their home to students to share meals with them.
Meanwhile Fugua of Winter Haven who was driving the pickup that slammed into Shirelle's car has been taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The Polk County Sheriff's Office says, "Impairment on the part of either driver does not seem to be a factor in the crash. At this time it appears seatbelts were in use."
Tammie Fields, 10 News