WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– A New Hanover County school is mourning the loss of a longtime teacher. Linda Aiello, 62, died in a car accident last night.
Not far from Laney High School, debris litters the shoulder of North College Road, the only sign that a deadly car accident ever happened here. Killed in the wreck was a woman who was a mother, a grandmother and longtime school teacher.
“One of the very best ones that I know of in this school,” Wrighstsboro Elementary parent Matthew Woods said of Aiello. “I mean, she’s just… What can you say? It’s just, it’s a loss. It’s a loss to all the children, not only mine, but the ones that come after mine.”
Aiello spent 22 years teaching at Wrightsboro Elementary School. During her tenure she taught third, fourth and fight grade. Affectionately known as “Ms. A,” she had spent the last two years teaching third graders, students who may now need a little support.
“I was so upset, but I didn’t want to cry, because I didn’t want other people to see me crying, because other people didn’t know,” said Charlotte Woods, a former student of Aiello.
Many staff members did not know what happened until they got to work. That’s when they learned about the crash.
The accident happened just a few hundred feet from Northchase Parkway. The Highway Patrol says another driver crossed the center line and hit Aiello. The other driver, Michael Gillespie, was not seriously injured. But moments after that crash another driver came along and hit Aiello’s car. She later died at the hospital.
“Certainly this community is reeling with shock and grief right now,” New Hanover County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Holliday said.
That’s why counselors were at Wrightsboro Elementary Tuesday and will remain there as long as they are needed.
“She gave us candy when we did well. She told us funny stories about what happened in her life. She read us funny books,” Charlotte Woods said. “She was the best teacher you could ask for.”
According to Highway Patrol, Gillespie has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle. Troopers say they do not believe alcohol or drugs were involved.