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'She was a fierce warrior' | Washington Teacher's Union President killed in Bowie car crash on Rt. 301

The crash happened around 10:24 p.m. Sunday on Route 301 in the area of Harbor Way, police say.

BOWIE, Md. — Washington Teacher's Union President Elizabeth "Liz" Davis was one of two people killed in a two-vehicle crash on Sunday evening in Prince George's County, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The crash happened around 10:24 p.m. on Route 301 in the area of Harbor Way, police said.

An investigation into the crash revealed that Davis, 70, was driving her 2014 Honda CR-V southbound on Route 301 in the area of Harbor Way, when she collided with the driver of a 2006 Toyota Scion, identified as 68-year-old John Starr, of Annapolis, Md., according to Maryland State Police.

Davis was taken to Prince George’s Hospital where she was later pronounced dead, police said.

Starr was pronounced dead at the scene.

MSP said southbound Route 301 was closed for about two hours due to the crash investigation and remained partially closed for an additional hour.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, police said.

The Washington Teacher's Union released the statement following the passing of Davis:

It is with deepest sorrow that the WTU has announced the passing of President Elizabeth Davis.

President Davis has been at the forefront of public education advocacy and reform, leading the WTU’s transformation into a social justice, solution-driven organization dedicated to advancing and promoting quality education for all children, irrespective of their zip codes or results of the school lottery, improving teaching and learning conditions, and aggressively amplifying the voice of teachers in the dialogue around issues of teaching and learning. We are confident that her legacy will continue to shape the WTU as well as education across the District.

Please keep President Davis and her family in your prayers during this difficult time. Details on a celebration of her life will be forthcoming.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser started her virtual legislative meeting Monday with a moment of silence in Davis's memory and shared condolences to her family. Bowser said Davis was a 40-year veteran with D.C. Public Schools.

The DCPS community took to Twitter to express their shock and sadness. One union leader writing “The city will miss THE voice of teacher passion and commitment.”  

Woodson High School teacher Laura Fuchs wrote, “President Davis was the kind of leader who could recognize things in others we hadn’t even considered for ourselves.” 

Councilmember At-Large Robert White wrote Davis’ death will “change the landscape of DC saying “few will challenge friend or foe with the same unbending commitment “

“She’s like a modern-day civil rights leader,” said Jaqueline Poque-Lyons the WTU’s current General Vice President. 

Pogue-Lyons will soon take over as Union President. Union leaders said Davis helped balance the budget, raise the union’s profile and fight for teachers in her 8 years as President. 

Pogue-Lyons said Davis leaves big shoes to fill and a legacy she is proud to continue.

“She groomed us all to be leaders,” added Pogue-Lyons. "What I’ll miss about Liz is that she can turn on a dime we could be working on something that was really important about teachers or students, but she would turn around and be the most fun, most social most outgoing person.”

"You want somebody on the battlefield with you that's going to be there to fight the fight and fight it well,” parent leader Sherice Muhammad said to WUSA9. “Liz was that person. She was a fierce warrior for teachers, school administrators and for students. And we as parents saw that valor in her. We know that death is imminent, you know, that's a part of life. But sometimes a person's passing can really catch you. And it can be very, very difficult to accept. And so, we're really going through the devastation of her loss.”

The WTU is working closely with Davis’s family and said details on a celebration of life are forthcoming.

D.C. Council President Phil Mendelson said Davis was a fierce advocate for education and teachers. He said Davis as the leader of the teacher's union was a very important part of the council process.

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