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Police identify victim in fatal traffic crash

By Joe Beck - jbeck@nvdaily.com

Winchester police have identified the victim in Thursday's fatal two-vehicle crash in the area of Jubal Early Drive and Valley Avenue as Amber N. Lucchiani, 38, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Robert E. Aylor Middle School.

Winchester Sgt. Frank Myrtle said Friday the driver of the other vehicle, Leslie Wylie, 30, of Knoxville, Tenn., has been charged with reckless driving in the crash, which also injured two children in Lucchiani's minivan. The three survivors, all of whom were wearing seat belts, were transported to Winchester Medical Center for treatment.

Wylie's court date has been scheduled for Aug. 27, Myrtle said.

On Thursday, police said a 2004 Ford pickup truck struck Lucchiani's 2008 Nissan minivan in the driver's front side area. The pickup, driven by Wylie, was traveling east on Jubal Early Drive when her vehicle crossed the median strip and hit the minvan.

Myrtle said the investigation is continuing, and there could be additional charges. He said witnesses have told police that Wylie's vehicle turned east off of Valley Avenue onto Jubal Early Drive, stopped, then accelerated at high speed and crossed the median strip.

He said the Wylie vehicle was not stopped for a traffic light or intersection.

"There's no explanation for the actions," Myrtle said of Wylie's pickup truck. "That's one of the things we'll be looking at."

Myrtle said police obtained a search warrant to take a blood sample from Wylie to check for alcohol or other drugs. He said a search warrant was also obtained to search her pickup truck.

Myrtle also said Wylie had undergone a botox treatment just prior to the crash.

Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy, records, management and communications for Frederick County Public Schools, said Lucchiani had been teaching at Aylor for eight years.

He said her principal, David Rudy, had described her as "a very outstanding teacher, very well respected. She had a very good rapport with the students and was very gifted at engaging the students in learning."

He said Lucchiani started taking her students to visit veterans at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., on Veterans Day two years ago. The students would bring gift packages and interview the veterans about their experiences, Edwards said.

"That program really encapsulated the way she taught her students, not only about history and social studies but the need for community service," Edwards said.

Edwards said the school faculty and staff gathered at the school Friday "to grieve and share remembrances of her."

School officials are waiting for the announcement of funeral arrangements before deciding whether they will hold an event for Lucchiani's former students to attend, he said.

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