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Morris woman killed in accident on Routes 47 and 113

Published: Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 11:35 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 9:04 p.m. CST

MORRIS – Jessica Bennett was known for her "angelic voice" and love of others, especially the children she taught at Reed-Custer Primary School where she was a Pre-K teacher.

"She touched a lot of families," Superintendent Mark Mitchell said. "She was an amazing young teacher."

He said the district is heartbroken over the loss of Bennett, who was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove after she was involved in a two-vehicle collision Thursday night at Routes 47 and 113.

Mitchell said Bennett, of Morris, will be deeply missed by the Reed-Custer School District.

"Just to know her, you know she had a heart of gold," Mitchell said. "She was getting married, and loved people. We are heartbroken over the whole thing."

Bennett, the daughter of James and Nancy Bennett, previously taught preschool at Gardner Grade School.

"Jessica always had a smile. She was kind-hearted, happy-go-lucky, with a unique sense of humor," her obituary reads.

Bennett was a 2007 graduate of Morris Community High School, where she participated in the theater program.

"Jessica's talent and beauty graced our stage many times," said MCHS Drama Club sponsor Andrea Gustafson. "Redskins Drama has a heavy heart today as we learned of the loss of one of our own."

She said Jessica's most memorable part was as Shelby in "Steel Magnolias."

The DuPage County Coroner's office said Bennett was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove due to multiple injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident.

Emergency responders were called at 9:10 p.m. Thursday to the intersection of Routes 47 and 113 for a report of a collision.

"She was westbound on 113 and came to a stop at the stop sign and then proceeded where she was hit by a tractor-trailer," Grundy County Sheriff Kevin Callahan said Friday morning.

Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District Chief Tracey Steffes said his agency responded to the call for a car versus semi accident.

"We called the Lifestar helicopter before we left for the scene," Steffes said. "They were able to get the driver free quickly and we diverted the helicopter to the Morris Hospital, where the ambulance met them."

Bennett was then airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital. Her family and fiancé were by her bedside at the hospital, according to her obituary.

Investigation of the accident has been handed over to Illinois State Police because a tractor-trailer was involved, Callahan said. He said ISP would be performing a reconstruction of the accident.

Visitation for Bennett has been scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Immaculate Conception Church. Bennett's obituary is printed on Page 2 of Saturday's edition of the Morris Daily Herald.

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