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Article updated: 1/23/2013 5:34 AM

Hit-and-run kills Des Plaines woman near Aurora school

By Marie Wilson

A staff member at an Aurora residence and school for students with psychiatric challenges was struck by a vehicle and killed Monday while trying to rescue a student who had run into the street, authorities said.

Theresa M. Burns, 57, of Des Plaines, was pronounced dead at 5:58 p.m. Monday at the scene of the crash on Church Road near Corporate Boulevard, Aurora police said.

The driver of the 1997 Chevrolet GEO Metro that struck Burns abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot. Police "have a good idea as to the driver's identity," they said in a news release, but he had not yet been located as of late Tuesday.

Police said an 18-year-old female student ran from Northern Illinois Academy's facility at 988 Corporate Blvd. and sat in a southbound lane of Church Road.

Police said Burns and two other staff members, a 25-year-old Plainfield man and a 32-year-old Rochelle woman, followed and tried to get the student off the street.

The driver of the Metro was traveling south on Church Road when he struck Burns and the Plainfield man at 5:33 p.m. about 150 feet north of Corporate Boulevard, police said.

The Plainfield man was taken to an Aurora hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries and has been released. An autopsy on Burns will be conducted at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday by the Kane County coroner's office.

The student was not injured, nor was the Rochelle woman. Another Northern Illinois Academy employee, a 63-year-old woman from Lee, Ill., was not injured when she parked her car in a northbound lane of Church Road in an attempt to assist her co-workers.

Aurora police are asking anyone with information about the accident to call traffic investigators at (630) 256-5330.

Northern Illinois Academy is certified through the Illinois State Board of Education as a therapeutic day school, spokeswoman Mary Fergus said Tuesday. It recently moved to Aurora from the Maryville Academy campus in Des Plaines.

The state board of education will look into Monday's accident to determine what happened and may review Northern Illinois' Academy's policies and procedures, Fergus said.

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