Pedestrian killed; leaves behind 6 children
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - Tuesday morning, 36-year-old Tina Rieger was walking in the crosswalk between Rosemont and Broadway Blvd when she was hit by an oncoming pickup truck. It cost Rieger her life, and six children their mother.
Thursday, Tucson College students and friends of Rieger paid tribute to the single mom who would have finished her classes that day. They remember a strong woman, a future phlebotomist, and a mother of six.
"Her kids were her main priority. And I've known that for many years," said her friend and class-mate Wendy Jackson, "Her kids are what kept her standing."
Rieger's children range from age four to 13. Five of them attend Ochoa Elementary School, where administrators say not only was Rieger putting herself through school, she found time to play a big role in her children's' education as well.
"She was often in their classrooms whenever she could," said Ochoa Elementary principal Heidi Aranda, "reading to kids and volunteering and I have pictures of her making tortillas with kids."
Rieger's children are in the care of her mother Linda Haver. Haver says her husband of 44 years and her faith are helping her cope, but the future of their family remains uncertain.
"I'm not a young person," said Haver, "I hope God will keep us together so I can see them all raised so that I know they can have a good start in life. Our house is small but it's filled with love. And we'll make it. We'll make it."
The driver of the car that hit Rieger was 60-year-old Frances Laurelez. Police charged her with one misdemeanor count of causing death by a moving violation. She was released at the scene.
Ochoa Elementary has set up an account for anyone who would like to donate to Rieger's children. It is the Tina Rieger Donation account at Wells Fargo.