Two small Texas communities - about 280 miles apart - are in mourning.
Former Glen Rose resident Merlyn Schneider was killed southwest of San Antonio early Sunday morning. She was reportedly the victim of a wrong-way driver, who police believe had been drinking prior to the collision, according to a news report at ksat.com.
Schneider, 53, was reportedly driving her compact car along a highway when a F-150 slammed into her vehicle shortly after 3 a.m. March 23.
Schneider was pronounced dead at the scene, and the alleged drunk driver who was transported to the hospital in critical condition later died, according to another report at kens5.com.
Schneider more recently resided in Knippa, where she served as principal and counselor at a district of less than 400 students.
A statement posted on the school district's website said the tight-knit community was struggling to come to terms with the loss.
"This is a very emotional and trying time for our students, staff and community," the statement said. "Merlyn Schneider was an amazing individual who had a passion for education and always did what was best for kids. Her untimely passing will have an unfortunate, long-lasting impact on our students, staff and community. We all lost an amazing educator, colleague and friend. Please keep her family, our students and this school in your prayers."
Similar messages spread across the internet following news reports of the early morning tragedy. Many of the messages, which seemed to mirror the next, referred to Schneider as a best friend, inspiration and role model.
Schneider, who worked a a teacher at Walnut Springs ISD for some time, called Glen Rose her hometown.
"She was the first teacher to take me under her wing," Lauren Ashlee Powell, a former student from Walnut Springs said in a Facebook posting. "She taught me how to write and develop a love for it as well as reading. She always pushed me to be better not just in her class but in every class and in life. She was always challenging me to get better."
Shari Mouser Reynolds, a Glen Rose resident, was devastated by the news.
"As most of you know by now, my dearest friend in the whole world was hit and killed in a car accident…" Reynolds said on Facebook. "Merlyn Schneider was one of those few in a lifetime people you could always count on…"
She is survived by two daughters, Randi Schneider and Skylar Schneider, and two sons, Jonathan Schneider and Heath Kelly.
Her children sent a statement to the Reporter, speaking to the legacy Schenider leaves behind.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our mother," the statement said. "She was an amazing person and an inspiration to a lot of people. Her ability to reach out and affect those around her allowed her to make each life she encountered just a little bit better. As sad as it makes us to lose our mother, we are comforted in the fact that her time on Earth was meaningful. She is gone but not forgotten and for that, we are grateful."