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Belle Chasse community mourns loss of teacher who died on Woodland Bridge

News of her death traveled quickly through the tight-knit Belle Chasse community.

PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. — For more than 30 years, Carol Roberts and her best friend Cindy Hoyle went for a run across the Woodland Bridge before work.

Wednesday morning, they set off on their last.

The Woodland Bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, connecting Algiers to Belle Chasse.

According to the NOPD, a man was traveling westbound on the bridge around 6:30 a.m. 

For unknown reasons, he crossed the center line and hit Roberts. The impact threw her over the side of the bridge and onto the ground below. She died at the scene. 

Police believe the thick fog on the ground Wednesday morning played a role in the crash. 

News of her death traveled quickly through the tight-knit Belle Chasse community. 

Dr. Shelley Ritz, Plaquemines Parish Director of Elementary Education, says Roberts started her career as an English teacher at Belle Chasse High School in 1972. 

She stayed for 20 years, building a reputation as a deeply caring educator with a penchant for perfectionism and a dry sense of humor. 

"That's who taught me how to write," said Disciplinarian Danielle Rojas, who took Roberts' class decades ago. "Everyone respected her." 

After leaving Belle Chasse High, Roberts took an administrative position at Boothville-Venice High School. 

Then, she became Director of Secondary Education for the parish before rising to Assistant Superintendent. Dr. Fritz said Roberts shined as an administrator, with an "eye for detail" and passion for service. 

Current Plaquemines Parish Superintendent Denis Rousselle also worked alongside Roberts for years. He called her a "pillar of the community."

Roberts ended her career as Deputy Chief at the Plaquemines Parish Clerk of Court, from which she retired within the last few years. 

While the community mourns, Cindy Hoyle faces both the loss of her friend and the trauma of what happened Wednesday morning. 

Thankfully, she was not injured in the crash. Her daughter Amy Hoyle spoke on her behalf. 

She described Roberts' caring nature, saying she was "behind the scenes of anything good happening in her school, her church, her community." 

She said support had been pouring in for her family all morning, with former students telling them Roberts "believed in them more than they believed in themselves." 

She said Roberts and Hoyle started each morning run with 15 minutes of prayer.

Now that Roberts is gone, she's not sure if her mother will continue her morning walks. She does, though, believe she will "find some way to find that closeness to God and to her friend Carol."

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