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  • Springfield News-Leader

    Hartville teacher, formerly in SPS, killed Monday in crash involving cow in roadway

    By Claudette Riley, Springfield News-Leader,


    A Hartville teacher who used to work in Springfield Public Schools was killed Monday in a one-vehicle accident in Ozark County.

    Holly Cooke, 31, was driving a 1998 Lincoln Town Car on Highway 5, six miles northwest of Gainesville, when it struck a cow in the roadway, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    Cooke, who lived in Norwood, was pronounced dead at the scene by Ozark County Coroner Gene Britt.

    Her 10-year-old son, who was not named in the patrol report, was taken by air to Mercy Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries.

    Cooke has taught middle school math in Hartville, located nearly an hour east of Springfield, for the past two years.

    She previously taught at Springfield's Westport Middle School.

    "She was very upbeat, very passionate about education, she loved her kids — not just her own kids personally but her students here," said Hartville Superintendent Adam Cook. "It is hard to put in words."

    Cook said once her family had been notified, he sent an email to her colleagues. The district also made counselors available to students enrolled in summer classes at Hartville.

    "We just sat down with those kids and explained what happened," he said. "We just pulled class rosters for all the students who were in her class last year and we're going making individualized calls to each family so everyone knows."

    Cook said in the summer months, families may not be paying attention to social media or news reports.

    Cooke's children were enrolled in the district. He met with the family Wednesday and said funeral arrangements are pending because they have a lot of family living in Texas.

    The one-vehicle accident was reported shortly before 10 p.m. Monday. Cooke was not wearing a seatbelt but her son was wearing a seatbelt, according to the patrol.

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