SOMERVILLE, Mass. - A community is mourning the loss of one of its greatest educators and also pushing for safer roads in her memory.
Allison Donovan, 40, a teacher and administrator for Watertown Public Schools, was killed in a hit and run on an intersection many have called dangerous for years.
Somerville Police say Donovan was walking down Powderhouse Road with a friend Friday night at around 7:15 p.m. when a pick up truck struck them both and fleed the scene.
Donovan and her friend, who hasn't been identified at this point, were rushed to the hospital, where Donovan was pronounced dead.
Authorites said they are searching for a newer model black pick up truck, possibly a Ford F-150 with a black cover over the bed and front-end damage to the driver's side.
The crosswalk, located right in front of West Somererville Neighborhood School, is now the site of a growing memorial for the educator.
The Somerville City Council President is calling for change to this intersection where 40 yr old Allison Donovan was struck and killed. This morning on @boston25 what is being done to make the area safer as the search continues for the hit and run driver. pic.twitter.com/TkQBAmwUPB— Kelly Sullivan (@ksullivannews) February 11, 2019
Donovan was a longtime educator and administrator within the Watertown Public Schools, serving as a teacher at the Hosmer School and as interim principal at the Lowell School.
Most recently, she was the district's K-9 literacy coordinator. She had also been the principal at the Lincoln Elementary School in Melrose,
“It is with great sadness that we learned of the unexpected death of Allison Donovan," Watertown Public Schools said in a statement. "Ms. Donovan was a long time educator and administrator in the Watertown Public Schools who was loved by students and staff. She brought invaluable knowledge, insights, compassion, and dedication to the district and was passionate about providing students with the best education possible. She will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends at this most difficult time."
Melrose Public Schools Superintendent Cyndy Taymore issued a statement on Monday regarding Donovan's passing:
“We were extremely saddened to hear about the tragic death of Allison Donovan Friday night. Allison served as the principal of the Lincoln Elementary School from 2015 to 2017. During those two years with the Melrose Public Schools, she sought to lead the Lincoln community with kindness, good humor and concern for the well being of all our students. She was well liked and respected by the entire Melrose Public Schools community. At the end of the 2016/2017 school year, Allison returned to Watertown to serve as an instructional coach, where she could continue to foster her passion for curriculum and instruction. Our administration, faculty and staff were saddened to hear about the sudden and senseless death of Allison. On behalf of the entire Melrose Public Schools community, I wish to extend my most heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues in Watertown.”
Parents of children who attend the elementary school near where Donovan was hit and killed say it is a busy and dangerous intersection, saying they have been pushing for safety changes for years.
"The crossing guard has been telling parents for years it’s a bad intersection that folks drive too fast, they come off 16 and still think they’re on the highway," said Daniel Rosen, a Somerville resident.
City Council President Katjana Ballantyne pushed for a meeting Monday morning on the issue, saying in a Facebook statement that police will be present at the crosswalk during pick-up and drop-off at the school until further notice.
"Our first concern, in the immediate wake of this tragedy, must be to offer condolences and prayers for healing and peace to our neighbors who are most affected," said Ballantyne. "However, we must also act now to do everything that we can to prevent any recurrence of these painful events."
Ballantyne also mentions installing a series of speed bumps, adding safety crossing signs with flashing lights as well as narrowing the boulevard by remarking parking lanes. Boston 25 News was there Monday as public works crews were out installing new barriers at the intersection in an effort go get cars to slow down.
“We are worried," Rosan said. "We’re worried for our kids and worried something like this will happen.”
Grief counselors will be available at Watertown schools to help students and faculty process their grief.
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