Students celebrate teacher's birthday two days after she was killed

- The teacher who died in a tragic car wreck on Wednesday would have celebrated her 41st birthday on Saturday, but Jenny Runnels' birthday hasn’t been forgotten. Students of the beloved teacher are making sure of that. 

Mrs. Runnels' fourth grade students are wishing her a happy birthday with quite a celebration at Lone Star Elementary School. The guest of honor, however, was there only in spirit.  

“She’s in a place where there are no more tears, no more sadness, no more sorrow," says Pastor Greg Johnson of Restoration Church with a smile. "We believe she’s with Jesus now.” He led the prayer at the school-based celebration. Mrs. Runnels' students released balloons with messages attached, floating toward her new home.

”It’s a reality of life, but I’m sure they really don’t have the capacity to clearly embrace and understand what happened to their teacher,” says Pastor Johnson.

It was right down the street from the school after class on Wednesday when state troopers say a 31-year-old man driving a Chevrolet Impala crossed the center line and slammed the car head on into Runnels’ sport utility vehicle. Both drivers were killed. Mrs. Runnels' 10-year-old daughter was critically injured in the wreck and survived. 

”She’s got some physical challenges and probably a lot of rehab ahead of her, but the biggest thing is she lost her mom and that’s going to be the hardest thing to recover from,” adds Pastor Johnson.           

Jenny Runnels' daughter remains in the hospital in stable condition.

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