North Texas teachers, children killed on road trip

DALLAS (TIP): Two North Texas teachers and several of their children were killed overnight while driving through Louisiana for a Disney vacation. Trudi and Michael Hardman died in the single-vehicle crash on Interstate 20 just west of Calhoun, La. Trudi was a kindergarten teacher at Wills Point Primary School, and Michael taught second grade at JFK Elementary in Terrell. The couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Casey, Michael’s 7-year-old son, Andrew, and Trudi’s 15-year-old, Dakota, were also killed.

Trudi’s son, Hunter, and Michael’s son, Adam, survived and have been released from the hospital. Louisiana State Police said that the horrific crash happened around midnight. The16-year-old driving the family, Aaron Hardman, likely fell asleep at the wheel and left the road. He overcorrected and the family’s Chevy Tahoe began rolling, police said. Aaron remains hospitalized in intensive care in Shreveport. Police said six of the eight people in the SUV were not wearing a seatbelt and were ejected. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of the people affected by this tragic crash,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson with Louisiana State Police. “Crashes like this one don’t just affect the people involved.

They affect family members, friends, troopers, first responders and the community at large. In an instance this family vacation turned into an unspeakable tragedy. I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a seatbelt anytime you are in a vehicle.” The family was reportedly on their way to Walt Disney World in Orlando. “These kids and parents were active in the school and in the Wills Point Baseball Association. This was a wonderful family and was loved by all the kids that these wonderful teachers touched,” The Van Zandt Co Fire Marshal’s Office posted on Facebook.

Terrell ISD’s superintendent described Michael Hardman as a dedicated teacher. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family members, colleagues, students and friends.We must lift each other up during this difficult time,” said Superintendent Michael French. Wills Point ISD said the impact of the tragedy is far reaching and affects each campus in the district. “Words cannot express the sadness in our hearts today,” said Superintendent Suzanne Blasengame. At least 250 people, including neighbors, friends and colleagues paid tribute to the Hardman family at a candlelight vigil Thursday, November 20 night at the Wills Point baseball fields. The family spent much of their free team on the fields because Michael coached youth league baseball.

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