13 June 2023 Savaii Samoa. Translated from FaaSamoa. Students of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ Vaiola High School in Savaii are mourning the death of a beloved school teacher who died in a car accident last Friday.
Deputy Police Commissioner Papalii Monalisa Tiai-Keti told Samoa Global News that Maria Faalelei, 45, of Faala Palauli had driven the vehicle while another teacher was in the passenger seat.
“Our investigations point to the driver having reached over to catch belongings which had fallen off the vehicle’s dashboard as the driver came around a corner..,” said Papalii.
“This action caused her vehicle to sway onto the other side of the road, where it collided head on with another car.”
The school teacher suffered serious injuries and died at Tuasivi District Hospital.
Noone else was seriously injured in the accident according to the Deputy Commissioner.
“The other teacher only suffered minor injuries and the passengers of the other vehicle also miraculously escaped unharmed,” said the Deputy Police Commissioner.
Mrs Maria Faalelei and her colleague were on route to school that morning. It was a teacher only day to help salvage school resources damaged by flooding the day before.
Papalii warned against leaving belongings on vehicle dashboards, and said all drivers should take this as a lesson learnt – to remain focused on the road and remove any distractions from the dashboard, steering wheel or gear shift areas.
Sister Maria Faalelei is survived by her husband Eti and their children. Our condolences go out to the grieving family.