In a tragic turn of events, a graduate student at Marymount University in Virginia was killed by a 12-year-old boy who jumped off a freeway overpass on Saturday. Virginia State Police are investigating what they believe to be a suicide attempt by the boy. Marisa Harris, 22, was killed nearly instantly when the boy’s body landed on her vehicle.
The Tragic Accident
Harris and her boyfriend were traveling in her 2005 Ford Escape going east on I-66 in Fairfax County. The young woman was behind the wheel when the young boy leaped off the Cedar Lake overpass down into oncoming traffic. He landed on the driver’s side of the car fatally injuring Harris. Her boyfriend was able to steer the car off the freeway, but there was nothing that he could do to save Harris’ life.
When the police arrived at 4:18 p.m., it was already too late. Harris was pronounced dead at the scene. The young boy miraculously survived the fall, but he was rushed to Fairfax Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The victim’s boyfriend walked away from the bizarre accident without being harmed–at least not physically.
On behalf of MUSGA, we extend our deepest condolences to Marisa Harris’ family and friends. pic.twitter.com/jjNmONKDqG
— Marymount Univ. SGA (@MarymountSGA) October 30, 2017
A Great Loss
Harris had graduated summa cum laude from Towson and was in her first year at Marymount. She was working towards a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. If this was indeed a suicide attempt, the irony of the situation is certainly not lost on her mother. According to WUSA 9, she called her death ‘ironic’ as the boy is exactly the kind of person whom Harris would have tried to help.
The graduate student’s death is heartbreaking, to say the least. In a statement from Marymount University President Matthew D. Shank, Ph.D., he expressed condolences to her family, friends, and loved ones. Shank announced that a memorial would be held at a later date in her honor. The university counseling department chairperson saw great potential in the slain young woman.
— Skyler A. Henry (@SkylerHenry) October 30, 2017
“Marisa was very quiet and reflective,” Dr. Lisa Jackson-Cherry said. “But you could tell that once she completed her program she was going to make a difference in the lives of a lot of young adults. Perhaps one of the largest impacts of this tragedy will be the loss of the positive impact that she would have had on others.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Marisa Harris, a Marymount graduate student who died this past weekend. pic.twitter.com/I20ryly72h
— Marymount University (@marymountu) October 30, 2017