WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Grief counselors are at a New Jersey high school Monday after authorities say a teenage girl was struck and killed by an off-duty state trooper over the weekend.
Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan called Terry Difalco, a 13-year-old Westfield High School student, “a vibrant ninth grader.”
“She was a bright girl, she was a good writer, she was known for being creative,” Dolan said. “Your heart breaks, I think, anytime you have a story like this, a tragedy like this.”
As kids walked into the high school Monday morning, flowers in memory of the freshman lay around the flag pole.
“She was really into theater and art and music and she was great at singing,” friend Madison Bryant told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “It’s been hard. It’s been really hard on everybody.”
Terry was struck and killed by an off-duty state trooper in a service vehicle around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. She was hanging with friends participating in an annual scavenger hunt put on by kids in the school play when she crossed Central Avenue.
“She was crossing Central Avenue and a car ended up hitting her because one of the boxes was at this guy’s house on Central Avenue,” said classmate Vincent Mora.
Terry was especially close to her friends in the drama club. The play was supposed open in two weeks. Beth Painter’s daughter was also in the cast.
“All they want to do is be together and hug each other,” she told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris. “I think they are feeling a lot of guilt for not being that person.”
Her girl scout leader, Kathy Jensen, laid flowers at the scene of the crash over the weekend.
“Just the perfect model child,” Jensen said. “If anyone wanted to have a child, a good child, it would be Terry.”
Dolan said guidance and grief counselors are embedded in the high school and will be for the days to come.
“The fact is all of us deal with grief differently and we’re going to be looking for signs and we’ll be speaking with students in different ways,” she said.
The officer involved in the accident stayed on the scene and no charges have been filed.
“She was a beautiful person, a beautiful child and we will miss her,” Jensen said.
An investigation is ongoing.