Students and staff at Tadmore Elementary School are mourning a teacher who died after suffering serious injuries in a one-car accident Tuesday afternoon in Braselton.
Maria Elena Cabal, 54, was returning to her home in Barrow County at 4:35 p.m. when she ran off the road on New Cut Road just off Ga. 53. A bystander saw the woman drive off the road and tried to help her, said Steve Nichols, director of the Jackson County Department of Emergency Services.
Units from West Jackson Fire and Rescue, Jackson County EMS and the Braselton Police Department responded to the accident. She was flown by helicopter to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta in critical condition with internal injuries.
Cabal was in her first year as an English for speakers of other languages teacher at Tadmore. She also served newcomer students who speak little English and need help adjusting to school life.
Prior to teaching at Tadmore, Cabal was an ESOL teacher at Jones Elementary school for several years.
She is survived by her husband, Hernan Borda, a teacher at West Hall Middle School, and two teenage sons.
Joe Gonsalves, principal of Tadmore Elementary, said Cabal was a skilled teacher and a pleasant person. Although Gonsalves said she was "fairly quiet," he remembers her good sense of humor.
He said Cabal floated through classrooms and worked with about 40 students each day to help them learn English and become successful students.
"She had a nice approach and relationship with her students," Gonsalves said. "It was a caring, nurturing one, and at the same time, she was instructing them in many new skills."
Gonsalves said Tadmore’s school counselor informed students this afternoon of their teacher’s death. Students received counseling Wednesday to help them cope with Cabal’s death, and will continue to receive counseling support as needed.