First-year teacher dies of injuries after auto crash


A fifth-grade teacher at Centennial Lane Elementary School died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center last week from injuries after she pulled in front of a Dodge Ram van while following her boyfriend home from a friend's house, police and the school's principal said.

First-year teacher Yunhee Song, 25, of Old Waterloo Road in Elkridge, died Tuesday, several hours after the Monday evening accident at Snowden River Parkway and Rustling Leaf in Columbia.

Her boyfriend drove all the way home before he realized that Song's Honda Civic was not behind him. He backtracked and found the accident, Centennial Lane Principal Robert Bruce said.

Song, who was raised in Philadelphia, wanted to teach in Howard County because her boyfriend had just passed the Maryland bar exam and was working in the area, Bruce said.

"They would often kid about looking for rings, but hadn't become engaged yet," he said. "I imagine that was coming soon."

Bruce met Song during a job interview in July, when Song was teaching in Montgomery County's gifted-and-talented summer program. She graduated in May with a master's degree in education from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was social coordinator for the Office of Graduate Student Life.

"She had boundless energy, and her focus on children was right on target," Bruce said.

Song's relatives came for her things Thursday, removing two photographs of her and her boyfriend and other photos of young relatives from her desk. Her interim report cards, which will go out tomorrow, and her lesson planner were in her car at the time of the crash.

An 8 1/2 -by-11-inch "I am" drawing hung on a wall in her classroom as a prototype for her students' assignment. In the center of the poster board are the words "I am" with sunrays extending in all directions. At the ends of those rays, Song described herself with such terms as "crazy about ice cream," "a cook," "a shopper," a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, a teacher, a friend, "here for her students," and a big sister, Bruce said.

On UMBC's Graduate Student Association's Web site, Song wrote that her post-graduation plans were to "have babies and make cakes" and that the words she lived by were "live and learn."

Grief counselors assisted students and teachers.

Funeral services were scheduled yesterday at First Adventist Church in Upper Darby, Pa.

A preliminary police investigation found that Song's "failure to yield the right of way" caused the accident. The driver of the van was not injured. Song's brother and mother and a lawyer for the family declined to comment Friday.

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