In a grimly ironic death in Virginia Saturday, a 22-year-old woman who worked with children with severe behavioral problems was killed when a 12-year-old boy jumped from a highway overpass and landed on her vehicle. Police believe the boy was trying to kill himself when he jumped from the Cedar Lane overpass onto Interstate 66, killing Marisa Harris when he landed on the 2005 Ford Escape she was driving, People reports. Harris' boyfriend was in the passenger seat of the SUV and was able to grab the steering wheel and safely guide the car off the interstate. The 12-year-old boy was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.
Harris, who grew up in Maryland, lived in Arlington and was pursuing a master's degree in clinical counseling at Marymount University. Her mother says she had a passion for helping troubled children and, given the chance, could have helped the boy who jumped, NBC Washington 4 reports. "She was caring—I mean she had an absolute love for children," her mom tells the Washington Post. "She was awesome. I miss her so much." Her father says Marisa is from a "long line of psychologists." "She was fearless, she was absolutely fearless," he says. "She was loved by her friends, she was dearly loved by her family, she was admired by her peers, she was just a shining star."