An elementary school teacher is in critical condition and two high school students were also hospitalized following an early morning crash Tuesday in Lutz.
Hillsborough County investigators said Merritt Tilson was trying to drive across Van Dyke Road in Lutz when a tractor trailer collided with her car.
Her son, Alex Tilson, and his classmate Katherine Stairs, both 15-year-old students at Blake High School, were also in the car. Stairs was critical when she was taken to the hospital.
Tilson is a teacher at Lake Magdalene and Robert Woods Elementary Schools. Tanya Arja, a spokesperson with the school district, said every student at those schools would have met her at some point; she either teaches or co-teaches evey music class.
"She's a music teacher and obviously the students that are into music love it and are passionate about it and I'm sure she is as well," Arja said. "We're just wanting everyone to know we're keeping the teacher and both students in our thoughts and prayers."
The accident shook parents at Lake Magdalene to their core.
"It's tragic. It's horrible," said Jennifer Winchester. "With God watching over her, hopefully she'll come with a quick recovery and everything. I'll definitely be praying for her."
Merritt Tilson was still critical late Tuesday. The hospital wouldn't release Stairs' current condition. Alex Tilson is expected to recover.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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