CROWN POINT | Two people — a man who was married earlier in the day and a Hobart first-grade teacher — were struck and killed by traffic in Crown Point late Saturday night.
Linda Darlington, 42, and William Riley Knight, 49, both of Crown Point, were struck by three different cars at 11:47 p.m. in the area of West 109th Avenue and Lane Street, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
Knight was going to a hotel with his new wife after getting married earlier in the day when he came across Darlington's vehicle that had gone into a ditch on the shoulder of 109th Avenue. He parked his car in a nearby driveway while Darlington exited her car and walked up to the road, according to a news release from Lake County Public Information Officer Patti Van Til.
"He helped her up the steep embankment and helped her to the side of the road when they were struck," she said.
The area is just outside Crown Point with a stoplight at a nearby three-way intersection. It was a clear night and speed was not considered a factor, Van Til said.
Darlington was pronounced dead at 12:41 a.m. Sunday; Knight was pronounced dead at 12:42 a.m. Sunday.
Knight's new wife, Nikki Knight, had stayed in the car when the tragedy occurred, Van Til said. They were returning home from their wedding reception.
"He said, 'We've got to stop, it's late and they need help,'" Nikki Knight told a Chicago media outlet.
Nikki Knight, a registered nurse, said when she got to the wreck, neither Knight nor Darlington had pulses.
"I went from a being a newlywed to a widow in less than 48 hours — the highest high to the lowest low," she said. "It's a blur."
The drivers involved all stayed at the scene. Van Til said they all received field sobriety tests and none had any indications of drugs or alcohol. No arrests or citations were made Saturday.
Darlington was a teacher at Joan Martin Elementary in Hobart.
School City of Hobart Superintendent Peggy Buffington said via email Sunday night that Darlington made an impression and impact on the district and her students.
"From the minute the principals interviewed Linda Darlington, they knew they found an extraordinary teacher for children. They told me I had to meet her," Buffington said.
Buffington said counselors would be at Joan Martin Elementary on Monday to help students and faculty.
Her co-workers also remembered her Sunday night.
"Linda is one of the best colleagues and friends you could imagine. Her passion and energy will continue to inspire me," fellow first-grade teacher Rhiannon Jolliff said.
Darlington mentored Jolliff last year.
"There is no one like her in the world and I'm lucky to have worked with her and that I am her friend," Jolliff said.
Fourth-grade teacher Cristina Bullington called her "an amazing woman, teacher, friend and mother."
"She brightened every room with her vibrant personality and caring nature. I am lucky to have had her as my co-worker, but even luckier to call her my friend," Bullington said. "She will be missed by so many, and she will be loved forever."
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.
"He (Knight) was a good Samaritan trying to help this woman in distress," Van Til said. "It's a very sad, tragic situation."