Elizabeth Davis, 70, and John Starr, 68, both died after Maryland State Police say Davis’ car rear-ended Starr’s as it was stopped at a red light on Route 301 near Harbor Way in Bowie.
It happened Sunday night just before 10:30. Police said Monday that the cause and contributing factors of the crash have not been identified and remain under investigation.
Friends shared photos and memories of Starr on Facebook Monday night describing him as a brilliant musician, composer and teacher who was as kind as he was talented.
His girlfriend, Helen Brockmeyer, said Starr was driving back to Annapolis after Easter services. She said he sang ‘Amazing Grace’ at a Catholic church in Bethesda and believes it was his parting gift to the congregation.
Davis was President of Washington Teachers’ Union after a 40 year career as a D.C. teacher.
Jacqueline Pogue Lyons, General Vice President of WTU, said she lost a colleague and friend. She said teachers are devastated.
"I’ve had hundreds of teachers reaching out to me via phone, email, text messages just expressing how shocked and sad they are," said Lyons.
Davis was known as an advocate for D.C. students, especially the city’s most vulnerable.
"She didn’t want their circumstances to get in the way of them getting a fair and equitable education," Lyons said.
Markus Batchelor, former Vice President of the D.C. State Board of Education, described Davis as an inspiration and firebrand.
"My time in public service would not be the same without her mentorship and her encouragement," Batchelor said.
He said she was someone who always made the time for others.
"(She) wasn’t too busy to give a smile or make a phone call and share a story," he said. "Or give you a pretty helpful kick in the pants when you were headed in the wrong direction."
At a press conference Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser held a moment of silence in honor of Davis.