A former Glen Rose kindergarten teacher who made a positive influence on thousands of lives died Monday as a result of injuries suffered in a head-on collision involving two vehicles.
Rhonda Cagle, 63, was pronounced dead at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth after being flown there by air ambulance, according to Staff Sergeant Dub Gillum, a public information officer with the Texas Highway Patrol.
The vehicle that collided with Cagle’s car was carrying four Johnson County teenagers commuting together to attend their classes at Brazos River Charter School, just east of Nemo on State Highway 67 in western Johnson County near the Somervell County line.
All four of the students were flown by air ambulance from the scene to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Two of them were named in the DPS report — Hunter White, 17, and Brandon Bell, 18 — and both were admitted in serious condition. Two minors who were passengers in the same vehicle were listed in critical to serious condition, but their names were not released.
Cagle was a teacher in the Glen Rose Independent School District for 31 years before retiring in 2010, according to Superintendent Wayne Rotan.
“She was a great lady. Yesterday was a very tough day on all our campuses,” Rotan said Tuesday. “Our hearts are broken.
“She was just a very kind person. You didn’t have to ask — she was there to help. She was thoughtful and willing to help everyone.”
Cagle was a native of Glen Rose, and her parents — Wendell and Jo Rozelle — lived in town as well.
Rotan said the news broke many hearts throughout not only the school district but also the community and beyond.
“She touched thousands of lives,” Rotan said. “Her parents are good friends of mine.”
Rotan said he couldn’t sleep Monday night because of the tragic news.
“She was just the most positive, energetic person you have ever met,” Rotan said. “She took a lot of pride in Glen Rose and the Glen Rose ISD.”
Even after her retirement from the GRISD, Cagle was still around most of the time, either working as a substitute teacher or just volunteering to help, Rotan said.
“It wasn’t like she retired,” Rotan said.
Jon Farrer, Cagle’s pastor at First United Methodist Church, said that she was a lifetime member of the congregation.
“She had a deep, abiding faith and love for God,” Farrer, who has been the pastor at the church for two years. “She had a heart of compassion for all people, reflected in everything she did.
“She was a beloved member who left a legacy that will not be forgotten. Numerous lives were changed for the better because of her. She loved her kids and her grandkids”
Rotan said that Cagle had a son and a daughter, and both reside in the Metroplex. She also had one sister, he said.
“Her grandkids were definitely the love of her life,” Rotan said.
Cagle also made a mark beyond Glen Rose, as one of the two founders of the popular downtown business, Pie Peddlers. She and her business partner, Jean Ford, built up that business while both were still teaching in Glen Rose, working on weekends in their shop. After both Cagle and Ford retired from teaching, they devoted more time to Pie Peddlers, but later sold the business.
Rotan said that Cagle told her former students that they could have free pie for life any time they came to the shop.
Rotan said that Cagle was “the ultimate salesman” for the city of Glen Rose, and even served as president of the local Chamber of Commerce for many years.
“She loved this town and school with all her heart,” Rotan said. “She meant a lot to the district, and a lot to the community.”
The Department of Public Safety accident information provided by Gillum states that the accident occurred at about 8 a.m. Monday on State Highway 67 at the intersection with County Road 199.
The vehicle containing the four students was turning to go to the Brazos River Charter School property when that Kia collided head-on with Cagle’s northeast-bound Kia. The driver, a Godley resident, did not see Cagle’s car approaching because of another vehicle ahead of him blocking his view, according to the DPS report.
Somervell County Fire Department sent two ambulances and three fire trucks to the scene, Fire Chief Mark Crawford said. He said that the crash happened around the time of the shift change, so several paramedics were dispatched to the scene. First responder units from the Cleburne and Bono fire departments also worked the scene.