The young woman who died Friday after driving off a freeway overpass in Tacoma was a junior at Decatur High School in Federal Way, and her classmates and educators are now mourning the loss.
Heidy Morales, 18, was a determined student, according to Rex Tucker, an assistant principal at Decatur. He said he got to know Morales as her academic adviser after she transferred to the school in late November.
Tucker said Morales and her family moved around, but she was still on track to graduate next year and hoped to get involved in Running Start and transfer to a four-year university after she obtained an associate’s degree.
“She was a hard-working student,” Tucker said. “We never blamed her life situations. She always focused on what she could do about her future and the influence she could have on it.”
Morales spent all or most of her school years in the Federal Way School District and was a cheerleader in middle school, according to Ann Cook, spokeswoman for the district.
“The overall sentiment the teachers felt was that she was a delight. She was a kid that was involved,” Cook said. “She was a part of the yearbook staff.”
Principal David Brower sent an email to Decatur families on Saturday expressing condolences.
“Our hearts go out to the family and to all who are suffering with this loss,” the last line of the email reads. “As Gators we stand together, mourn together, and comfort one another through this difficult time.”
Counselors and administrators were being made available throughout the week for Decatur students and staff.
Morales died late Friday afternoon when the SUV she was driving made a sharp turn on the East L Street overpass above Interstate 5, crashed through the guardrail and plunged to the freeway below. Nobody else was hurt.
Her father, Sergio Morales, told KIRO TV he spoke with his daughter before she left for her shift at the Federal Way McDonald’s on Friday and he still couldn’t believe what happened.
She had dreamed of serving in the National Guard, he said.
The family takes some consolation in the fact that Heidy Morales was an organ donor, he said.
“They told us she was going to be able to help 50 people,” Sergio Morales told KIRO Sunday. “She was a miracle for us, and she’s still being a miracle for other life.”