Video: Erin Jackson, busted in East High hit-and-run, is a teacher and slam poet
Update: As soon as we got a look at Erin Jackson, the thirty-year-old woman arrested for this week's brutal hit-and-run that critically injured an East High School student -- see our original coverage below -- it was clear she didn't fit the a typical criminal stereotype. Turns out, though, that her background makes the act for which she's been accused even more incongruous.
Pics, videos below.
Jackson is a fifth-grade teacher at an Aurora charter school, as well as a past slam poetry competitor.
Just after 7 a.m. on Wednesday, as we've reported, a gray, four-door sedan was traveling down Colfax near Elizabeth when it struck a sixteen-year-old student in a crosswalk. The vehicle didn't stop, leaving the student in the middle of a busy intersection -- East is on one side of the street, the Tattered Cover and Twist & Shout are on the other -- with severe injuries.
Here's footage of the accident. Be warned: Even though the impact is seen from a distance, it's still jarring:
The girl was raced to a nearby hospital, where she's currently reported to be in stable condition with a head injury. Meanwhile, a citywide alert went out for the driver of the vehicle, originally described as a white or Hispanic woman in her early thirties.
Then, at around 4:30 a.m. yesterday, after a presumably sleepless night, Jackson turned herself in to authorities, and the car -- a Chevy Malibu -- was recovered. Denver police revealed her identity at an emotional news conference late yesterday afternoon, and it didn't take the media long to figure out that she teaches fifth grade girls at AXL Academy in Aurora. Here's her bio from the school's website:
Erin Jackson AXL portrait.
Erin Jackson recently moved to Colorado and is originally from Lawrence, Massachusetts. Erin is passionate about learning, helping her students acquire an authentic understanding of the world and enjoys slam poetry. Erin received her B.A. in History and Education and her Master in Health Education at Boston University. Erin is looking forward to exploring Colorado, but will miss the ocean!The mention of slam poetry isn't a casual one, as is clear from a 2010 profile of her in Worcester Mag. The article begins like so:Erin Jackson is a member of the Worcester slam poetry team and recently placed seventh in the individual category of the national competition in Austin, Texas. Born in Lawrence, she graduated from Pentucket Regional High School in West Newbury and earned a BA in history from Hampshire College in Amherst. She teaches at the Montrose School in Medfield.In the Q&A, Jackson responds to a question about performance anxiety, saying she's never had it. "I am much more comfortable reading in front of a thousand people, rather than one-on-one," she allows. "The big groups don't scare me. The anxiety is writing a piece and saying what I want it to be."
Did she suffer a kind of performance anxiety Wednesday morning, freezing up and driving on rather than stopping and aiding a teenager, as one would expect most dedicated teachers to do? Hard to say. But because she fled, she'll face even more severe sanctions than if she'd stuck around thanks to newly toughened hit-and-run laws inspired by Tim Albo, another hit-and-run victim who continues to face health challenges two years or so later.
In the meantime, AXL Academy's head, Audra Philippon, has released the following statement:
"We are shocked to learn of Erin's involvement in this terrible accident. We can confirm that Erin has been employed as an intermediate teacher at AXL for approximately eight months. We are keeping the victim in our thoughts and prayers and wish her a full recovery. At this time, our top priority is supporting our students as they learn of this sad news."
Here's reports about Jackson, who's expected to make her first court appearance today, from 9News, along with a 7News piece and a larger look at her mug shot. That's followed by our previous coverage.
Continue for our previous coverage, including photos and videos.