NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students at Hume-Fogg High School in downtown Nashville are mourning the loss of a classmate who was killed after she was struck Thursday afternoon by a tractor trailer while trying to cross the street.
Metro police said Elena Zamora was walking west on Church Street and was crossing Rosa L. Parks Boulevard when she was hit around 1 p.m.
Department spokesperson Don Aaron said Elena was halfway across the intersection and was pinned underneath the truck.
“Any loss of life is horrible, particularly at this time of year. When we learned it was a 17-year-old, it’s even more tragic because your hearts go out to the young lady’s parents,” Aaron said in a news conference Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, students laid flowers and prayed near the school’s sign which reads, “In loving memory of Elena Zamora.”
Principal Dr. Dr. Kellie Hargis said Elena was a sweet, well-liked student and a member of the school’s cross country and track teams.
“We are very thankful for the time we shared with Elena,” Dr. Hargis said. “The loss of a child is perhaps the greatest loss of all.”
She continued, “The beautiful thing about the Hume-Fogg is that we are a very tight knit loving and supportive family to one another and we call ourselves that, the Hume-Fogg family and Elena was an integral part of that family.”
Counselors were available to students Friday and will be as needed following winter break.
Students will also be allowed to take their final exams upon returning to class in January.
“We met with [members of the] student body who were here this morning and together we are grieving.” Hargis said. “They have been told we will make arrangements and accommodations to make up any exams that are not taken today upon our return back in January.”
Elena’s visitation was held on Monday at Saint Henry Catholic Church at 6401 Harding Road from 10 a.m. to Noon. The funeral followed visitation services.
It remains unclear if the crosswalk signal was working or indicated to Elena that it was safe to walk at the time of the accident.
The driver of the truck, Troy Devitt, 45, of Alabama, was attempting to turn right onto Church Street and had a green light. He told police he did not see the teen.
He was hauling electronic equipment from Memphis to a firm on Polk Avenue in south Nashville at the time of the crash.
Charges against Devitt were not immediately filed.
Devitt’s trailer is registered to CEVA Logistics Inc., based in Jacksonville, Florida.
The actual tractor pulling the trailer is registered to Service One Transport, Inc, based in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Requests for comment from the company were not immediately returned.
News 2 checked Service One Transports federal safety records through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
According to the administrations, Safety Measurement System, the carrier has been involved in five crashes in the past 24 months. None of those crashes were fatal and do not include Elena’s death.
The FMCSA also does not show who was to blame in wrecks involving the carrier.
The FMCSA shows 52.2 percent of carriers with a similar amount of safety inspections have a better record when it comes to unsafe driving.
They also found that 91.5 percent of similar carriers have better hours-of-service compliance.
The company has been cited multiple times for allowing drivers to drive longer than federal guidelines allow.
The company has also been cited for driving between 11 to 14 miles above the speed limit multiple times in the past 24 months.
Seventy percent of similar carriers were found to maintain their vehicles better than Service One Transport according to the vehicle maintenance inspection report. It cited issues including inoperable and defective air brakes.
Metro police’s investigation is ongoing.
Following the conclusion of the police’s investigation, the Davidson County District Attorney’s office will get the results and decide if Devitt will face charges.
The tractor trailer rig is impounded during the investigation.