Northwest Miami-Dade, FL : One dead in fatal tractor trailer crash on Northwest 79th Street on Thursday morning, January 22, 2015
A beloved school security guard lost her life in a horrific collision with a tractor trailer that left her car crushed, Thursday morning.
Susie Mae Gordon, 61, worked as a security guard at Miami Beach Senior High School for over 20 years.
According to Miami-Dade Police, Gordon was on her way to work, driving west on Northwest 79th Street trying to make a left turn onto Northwest 22nd Avenue. The truck driver was traveling east on 79th and had the right of way. He didn't have time to stop, so he lost control, crashed into a palm tree and crushed the red sedan. Gordon died on impact.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue arrived on the scene sometime before 6 a.m.
"I was shocked," said witness Brenda Facen. "It was the first time I'd ever seen a bad accident like that. You know, it happened, and I said, 'Lord, she gone.' That's all I could say. She was gone."
Family members arrived on the scene and broke down in tears as they watched Gordon's body being removed from the mangled car.
The family of the tractor trailer driver said he was very also emotional at the scene of the accident. "When we got here, my immediate reaction was 'where's my father, how's he doing?'" said the truck driver's daughter Ana Argenao. "They didn't want us to speak to him or to know anything about it, so we were nervous."
"He's shooken up," said the truck driver's son George Argenao Jr. "He's never had an accident of this magnitude. He was just crying in the police car. He's never had something like this."
Authorities shut down 79th Street for hours as police conducted their investigation to determine the cause of the crash. The road was since reopened.
Back at Miami Beach Senior High School, staff members grew concerned when they did not hear from Gordon. They received news of her death after the security guard did not show up to work. "When we didn't see her at 6:15, and she didn't call in, something's going on," said Miami Beach Senior High Principal John Donohue. "Life stopped for all of us here for a few minutes."
Students and staff at Miami Beach Senior High were distraught when they heard the news. "She really cared about the students, she cared about the staff, she wanted to make sure that she did everything in her power to keep everybody safe," said Miami Beach Senior High Principal John Donohue. "We're gonna miss her."
Many students, like Franklin Fuller, cherished Gordon. "She made everybody feel at home -- a mother figure. Hearing that today was just devastating," he said.
"She would act like a parent figure sometimes, you know. Very nice lady," said another student, Diego Baldizon.
One student said the news of Gordon's death made him cry. "When I heard the accident I was literally in tears." said Jonathan Taitz.
Gordon is remembered as a pleasant woman by students and staff. They said she greeted everyone with a smile. "She was very sweet," said student Kerlea Harris. "It's sad. You never know when it's people's time to go."
The security guard also helped keep the school in order. "She would keep everybody in line," said student Franklin Fuller. "That was her job, to make sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to be doing, but she did it in a way that everybody felt welcome."
Another student, Gabriela Perez, said Gordon went to great lengths for the safety of the school. "She did whatever was necessary to protect us, and it's a great loss for all of us," Perez said.
The principal of the school said staff members are working with Gordon's family to set up an event in her honor.
Grief counselors have also been made available to students at the high school.
Fatal tractor trailer crash leaves South Florida woman dead