CROWN POINT | William Riley Knight was remembered Monday by a longtime friend as a talented actor whose final actions were heroic.
Linda Darlington was remembered by friends and school officials for her passion for teaching and love of her first-grade students.
Knight, 49, was helping Darlington, 42, when both Crown Point residents were struck and killed by three different cars at 11:47 p.m. Saturday in the area of West 109th Avenue and Lane Street, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
"Riley died a hero on his last best night. I pray that it was instantaneous and he didn't know what hit him as he pulled a lady from the car," community theater director Angie Lowe said.
Knight was like a "little brother" to Lowe, she said.
Lowe, who directed Knight when he was a Lake Central High School student and later as an adult in community theater, said he developed into a talented actor.
"To have that incredible voice and talent just rubbed out hurts me beyond words," Lowe said.
Lowe, who heads up a theater group called ARC en Ciel, said her husband, Paul, stood up for Knight at his wedding Saturday at Great Oaks Banquets in Cedar Lake.
"They got married in front of fireplace where they met eight years ago. The reception was on the other side," Lowe said.
The accident, just west of Crown Point, remains under investigation but police don't plan to issue any tickets. The drivers of all three cars took sobriety tests at the scene and all three passed, Lake County sheriff's spokeswoman Patti Van Til said.
"It was just a horrible accident," Van Til said.
Knight's new wife, Nikki, had stayed in the car before the tragedy occurred, Van Til said. They were returning home from their wedding reception.
Jenifer Novak, a friend of Darlington, remembered her passion for teaching and her love of her students at Joan Martin Elementary School in Hobart.
"She really loved being a teacher. It was a large part of who she was," Novak said.
Novak, who works as a morning supervisor at the Crown Point YMCA, also remembered Darlington as a regular there.
"She was really into working out; really into fitness. She and a friend even worked out with a personal trainer," Novak said.
School City of Hobart Superintendent Peggy Buffington said Monday the district plans to plant a tree in Darlington's honor at a memorial service this spring.
Darlington made an impression and impact on the district and her students, Buffington said in an email Sunday.
Counselors were at Joan Martin Elementary on Monday to help students and faculty.
Along with his new wife, Knight is survived by two daughters, a stepdaughter and stepson.
Darlington is survived by her husband, Jim, and three children, according to the School City of Hobart.
Funeral services are being arranged for Darlington through Chapel Lawn Funeral Home in Schererville.
Funeral service arrangements for Knight weren't known as of late Monday.