GLOBE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Gila County Sheriff's Office says a special education teacher from the Miami, Arizona, was killed in a flash flood near Globe Monday night.
Catherine Cañez, 52, has been a teacher in the Miami Unified School District for more than 25 years.
The flash flood happened just before 8 p.m. in the Irene Wash, near Silver Hills Road north of Globe.
The sheriff's office got a 911 call that a truck with a man and woman inside had been caught in a flash flood in the wash.
The man and woman were able to make it out of the truck and attempted to get to higher ground.
Richard Weaver, 45, of Globe, made it out of the truck safely.
But sheriff's officials say Cañez was swept away in the rushing waters and she did not survive. Her body was found about a mile downstream from the truck.
“She meant a lot to me, hard to believe she's gone,” said Zack Olson, one of Cañez’s former students. “Without her and my other teacher, I wouldn't have gotten through high school.
Miami Unified School District Superintendent Sherry Dorathy says Cañez had been at the school earlier on Monday for professional development. She says Cañez was excited to be back at school and that her impact went beyond the classroom.
“She assisted with float-building, and prom, and raising money in the concessions stands,” Dorathy said. “And then, today she's not here. So, it's been a difficult day.”
Sherry Dorathy also released the following statement about Cañez:
"Ms. Cañez was a loved friend, teacher, co-worker and community member. She started her career with Miami Unified School District over 26 years ago as a general education teacher and then moved into special education. Ms. Cañez had a kind heart and gave her all to her family and students. Her ability to encourage her students to be better than they thought possible and the friendship she provided leaves a legacy to all of us. Her sense of humor, dedication, and ability to teach will be greatly missed. We are a family here at Miami Unified School District and Ms. Cañez will be missed by all. Our prayers go out to her family, friends, and students during this difficult time."