MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Counselors were on hand Wednesday morning to talk with students at a West Kendall elementary school after a woman was killed outside the school Tuesday afternoon.
The accident happened in front of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish School, 14000 SW 112th Street, as children were leaving an after school program.
Catalina Gomez Pelaez, 27, was walking across the parking lot to pick up a relative’s children when Noris Better, 73, lost control of her car and struck and killed her.
Employees at the school told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that Better has a grandchild in an aftercare program and was there to pick the child up.
“I couldn’t sleep all night long,” said parent Angelica Sganga. “I’m shaking about it because it’s just, it was too close. It was right next to the door of the entrance of where we get the kids in and out after school care and just to see the car right there; you know, the kids could have been there.”
Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, said the children who Gomez Pelaez normally picked up were not with her at the time of the crash.
“The children were in a building close by. At no time were they in any danger,” said Agosta.
Sganga and her six-year-old daughter witnessed the scene Tuesday afternoon. They watched as police investigated and a family broke down in tears after the woman was killed.
“She (her daughter) wanted to get close to the car to see what happened,” Sganga said. “I said, ‘No, let’s go home…let’s just pray for the people that got in the accident and let’s just pray that they’re fine.'”
Agosta said no children saw the crash, but some saw the aftermath. Investigators surrounded the scene for hours as family members gathered to grieve.
“Before the medical examiner removed the body Monsignor Schwanger did say a prayer over the victim’s body and many of the police officers joined in on the prayer and the blessing,” said Agosta.
“It’s just very sad and tragic,” said parent Irene Coronado.
Coronado said parents are doing their best to explain the deadly accident to their children and help them move forward.
“They were going to know about it today, so it was important to let them know what happened and it was just an accident and they shouldn’t be scared,” said Coronado. “They were sad and we prayed about it, but they’re okay.”
Members of Gomez Pelaez’s family gathered Wednesday afternoon at a family home in West Kendall.
One of her cousins told D’Oench that she did not want to be identified but said, “My cousin was a good person. She was a very good person. The family is very sad.”
On Wednesday morning at the church connected to the school, there was a mass and there were prayers for the Gomez Pelaez and her family.
Police have not filed any charges in the case thus far.