School mourns after a Corrigan teacher is killed by a suspected drunk driver

Corrigan-Camden Junior High Principal Robert Elliott
Corrigan-Camden Junior High Principal Robert Elliott
Connie Mckay photo courtesy:
Connie Mckay photo courtesy:

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – The halls are quiet, the door is locked, school is in session at Corrigan-Camden Junior High, but there's a void there that Connie Mckay once filled.

"It's going to be hard," said Corrigan-Camden Junior High Principal Robert Elliott as he held back tears. "It's going to be hard for a while, but I keep going back to her family. I'm a husband and I'm a father and I can't imagine."

Mckay was driving in Lufkin when police say Leobardo Nieves ran a red light, broadsiding her car, and took off on foot.

Mckay was killed, her passenger is in stable condition and Nieves is in jail, charged with intoxicated manslaughter and intoxicated assault.

"It's going to take a while for everybody to adjust," Elliott said.

From letters on her door to posts on her Facebook page, Mckay's influence went beyond her seventh grade reading classroom.

From "How do you say goodbye to an angel," to "This world is a better place because you were in it," people are remembering the woman Elliott says he'll never forget.

"My first year here was her first year here," Elliott explained. "That with me will always be a special place."

The 45-year-old Corrigan Camden Junior High employee was the first teacher Elliott hired.

Elliott said McKay was often one of the first ones at school in the morning getting ready to teach.

"The best compliment you can give somebody is that they made a difference and she made a difference every day," said Elliott. "She made a difference with the teachers and staff here and she made a difference with the students she had."

He made it clear, she was an extraordinary teacher and friend.

"She had a genuine concern for these other teachers and staff and for her students," said Elliott. "She knew every student, seventh, eighth grade, she knew every one of them. She knew what they were doing and what they were capable of doing."

Mckay was dedicated to her profession and to the lives she taught. Now, they work to keep her memory alive.

Counselors are still on-hand at the school.

Nieves is being held in the Angelina County Jail on a $32,000 bond.

The scene of the crash -- the intersection of Lotus Lane and Loop 287 in Lufkin is the latest to receive red light cameras. They will be turned on any day.

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