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Groton - The teacher who was critically injured in an accident at RHAM Middle School last week is still fighting for her life at Hartford Hospital, and her friends and family have set up a fund to help while she is unable to work multiple jobs.
Dawn Mallory of Groton was struck by a car that pulled into the school bus loading and unloading zone, stopped, then tried to back out about 7 a.m. Friday, state police said. The car had initially been traveling in the parking lot between the high school and middle school, police said. The accident remains under investigation.
Region 8 schools Superintendent Robert Siminski said Mallory, 65, walking behind the car, was hit by the tailgate and then hit her head on the pavement. She suffered bleeding in the brain and remained in critical condition at Hartford Hospital Tuesday.
Siminski said counselors were on hand to help students and staff, and had been there since Friday. A couple of students witnessed the accident, and "the counselors are handling the situation," he said.
The school, in Hebron, began having a police presence during the morning drop-off on Monday, he said.
Mallory has worked with the Region 8 school district since 1997, teaches math at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich and holds a job helping people file taxes.
Friends and family members set up a fund to help her, which can be located at www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/ry64/dawn-mallory-s-helper-fund.
The fund had 121 donations totaling $5,880 of the requested $8,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.
Mallory has two sons, including Ledyard Police Officer Eric Bushor, who formerly worked for the Groton Town Police, Ledyard Lt. Mike Finkelstein said.
He said officers have been with Bush or and his family at the hospital "pretty much around the clock since Friday."
Kathy Williams, who works at the Groton Senior Center and also at Three Rivers Community College, said she was shocked when she heard what happened. "My heart just stopped," Williams said. "Because she is such a lovely woman. She always had a smile. ... She was caring if a student had an issue. She was always right there."
Donna Perry, who lives next door to Mallory, said Mallory helped Perry's son fill out his financial aid package for college, then advised him to stay in school and earn his advanced degrees.
"She loved teaching," Perry said of her neighbor. "There was not even an ending year for her to retire. She loved it, and she got up at the crack of dawn."
Mallory had recently finished building a deck on her house and held a yearly party for family and friends to watch fireworks on the July 4 weekend, Perry said. Perry said Mallory also had two or three grandchildren, and she would pull out the plastic pool, squirt guns and toys when they visited.
"It's like you wake up to go to work and you just don't know," Perry said. "You just don't know. Life is not guaranteed. ... You know that saying, 'Stop and smell the roses?' Everyone says it's a cliché, but people need to pay attention. Because she left for work, and she's not home."
Siminski said the accident last Friday follows two other tragedies involving students, who also died in traffic accidents.