PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5)- The Littleton Elementary School District is mourning the loss of a teacher who died in a head-on crash Saturday afternoon in Phoenix.

[VIDEO: School mourns loss of teacher killed in Phoenix head-on crash]

“It is with heavy heart that we announce the passing of Ms. Heather Began, 1st grade teacher at Estrella Vista STEM Academy,” district representative Rita Sanchez wrote in a statement to azfamily.

The crash happened near 35th and Grand avenues around 4:15 p.m. The impact of the crash was so powerful, Phoenix police said Began was found dead at the scene.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Teacher dead, man in critical condition after head-on crash in Phoenix]

Richard Ramos, the former principal at Estrella Vista STEM Academy, said he hired Began twice. The first time in 2017.

“She called me a couple of weeks before the school year and said ‘Hey, Mr. Ramos, I’m not coming …I’m just not ready to leave my family, and so, I need some time,’” Ramos said.

After some convincing, Began made the move from Illinois to Arizona.

Ramos said she was a dedicated educator who put in an extra effort teaching the young minds she cared so much about.

“She really wanted to master the knack of teaching, so she was the kind of person that worked very long hours,” he said.

Began started teaching 2nd grade, before asking to teach 1st grade student this new school year.

“She’s a very kind, and nurturing individual. She absolutely loved all of her kids. She really cared and was passionate about teaching.”

Estrella Vista STEM Academy is currently on Fall Break, however, the administration is putting together a plan to help staff and students cope with the tragic loss.

Phoenix police said the 29-year-old male involved in the crash is at fault, adding that speed and impairment were contributing factors.

Began would have turned 26 on Monday, according to a close friend.


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