The sudden loss of Ellicott School District 22's middle school principal, Diane Garduno, in a car wreck Tuesday has left the small district shaken.
"She will be greatly missed," Superintendent Chris Smith said Wednesday, via email. "She impacted so many students in Ellicott, it is hard to imagine Ellicott without her."
Like many other Pikes Peak region school districts, Ellicott D-22, which has about 950 students, has been closed all week for Thanksgiving break.
But Smith said the district's Crisis Response Team was activated after learning of the fatal crash that occurred shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday on Bradley Road in eastern El Paso County.
According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Garduno's westbound Chevrolet Impala was struck head on about a half-mile west of Meridian Road by an Audi driven by 21-year-old Robert Ours, of Colorado Springs. The Colorado State Patrol said Ours, who also died of injuries sustained in the crash, was driving east and attempting to pass another vehicle when his car collided with Garduno's vehicle.
"We will be meeting to determine the best course of action in supporting our staff and students," Smith said, adding that surrounding school districts, along with the Pikes Peak Board of Cooperative Educational Services and the El Paso County Victim Advocacy Unit, have been "extremely supportive."
"We will be using that support to help everyone with this loss," Smith said. "Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers."
Garduno, 48, lived in Peyton and was a mother of five.
Smith said Garduno had been a colleague of his in Ellicott D-22 for 18 years.