Overland Park students head back to school, mourning classmate hit and killed by car

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Monday was the first day back at Oxford Middle School after one of its most popular students was killed Friday.

Quite a big memorial has grown at 123rd Street and Switzer. It's the spot where Alexandra Rumple was hit and killed by a man driving on the sidewalk.

Monday was difficult day for her classmates. Many of the kids who walk home saw what happened to the 14-year-old eighth-grader known around school as Alex.

A man driving northbound on Switzer ran up onto the sidewalk in several places between 127th and 121st streets. Alex was more than half way home when she was hit.

Many parents picked up their children from school Monday or walked with their kids home after the tragedy Friday.

"It is just a horrible situation, and it is scary to think that our children aren't safe walking home from school and that they are in harm’s way even when they are supposed to be safe,” said Alisa Matteoni whose son is also in eighth grade.

"Just a wonderful kid you know? And she was so active in school, so smart, straight-A student," said Karen Stansbury, whose granddaughter knew Alex. “She played sports. She was in the band. Just such a horrible tragedy."

The Blue Valley School District sent its Flight Team to Oxford Middle School on Monday. It's made up of district counselors, psychologists, social workers and school resource officers.

They set up what they call a "hot spot" in the library where children can come to talk about how they are feeling. An estimated 150 students used that resource Monday.

The Flight Team encourages students to tell stories and share good memories of Alex. Students also made cards for Alex's family.

“We can't change what happened unfortunately, and so really it is kind of moving forward and letting them know there is support for them,” Blue Valley Schools psychologist Emily Demo said. “Helping them normalize grief and having conversations with other students around kind of helps with that."

The Flight Team will be at Oxford Middle School again Tuesday, and then the district will take it day by day from there.

The man who hit Alex is around 70 years old. Police haven't said why he was driving erratically. After he hit Alex, the man ran into a fence a couple blocks away, and that's how his car stopped.

Officers on scene didn't smell alcohol on his breath, so the man was taken to the hospital. He hasn't been charged with a crime. Police are waiting for toxicology reports to determine if they will send this to the prosecutor. There's also a possibility that a medical condition caused the tragedy.

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