On many weekday mornings, Rhonda Cagle got up around 4 a.m., baked some of the best pies in Texas and then taught kindergarten at Glen Rose Elementary.
Her love for kids and pies was known to thousands of Glen Rose residents, who were still in shock Tuesday, a day after Cagle, 63, was killed in a head-on collision on U.S. 67 in Johnson County.
“Our hearts are broken as we mourn the loss of Rhonda Cagle,” Glen Rose Superintendent Wayne Rotan wrote on the school’s Facebook page. In a Tuesday telephone interview, he added, “She was just a great ambassador for Glen Rose and the school district.”
A group of teens in a car collided with Cagle’s when they tried to turn off the highway, according to a Texas Department of Public Safety report.
Cagle taught for 31 years in the Glen Rose school district, most of it as a kindergarten teacher at Glen Rose Elementary. She retired in 2010, but she still was a substitute teacher at the elementary school for the last seven years.
She also was a former president of the Glen Rose Chamber of Commerce.
Before she retired, Cagle, along with other teachers, opened Pie Peddlers in Glen Rose, which was named as having the best pies in the state by viewers of the syndicated state-wide television series Texas Country Reporter.
Cagle stayed busy baking pies for Pie Peddlers, but she never forgot her students. “She was known to give free slices of pie to her former kindergarten students,” Rotan said.
Terri Murphy said Tuesday she couldn’t have had a better neighbor.
“She was such a wonderful, wonderful sweet woman,” said Murphy who had lived beside Cagle for about 10 years.
Cagle died at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth Monday morning shortly after the accident. Four teens who were taken by helicopter ambulance to the same Fort Worth hospital were listed in serious to critical condition, DPS Sgt. Dub Gillum said in an email.
The fatal wreck occurred about 8 a.m. Monday on U.S. 67 near County Road 1119.
A preliminary DPS report gave this account of the crash:
Hunter White, 17, of Godley was driving a silver Kia southwest on U.S. 67 while Cagle, in a red Kia Rio, was traveling northeast.
White was behind another vehicle and did not see Cagle as he tried to turn onto County Road 1119.
The two vehicles collided head-on, according to the DPS report.
Brandon Bell, 18, a passenger in the silver Kia, was listed in serious condition, while two other passengers in that car, a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, were in critical to serious condition at the Fort Worth hospital, according to the DPS report.
DPS troopers continued Tuesday to investigate.
Cagle’s funeral will be at 3 p.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church of Glen Rose, 411 NE Barnard St. A graveside service will be at Squaw Creek Cemetery in Glen Rose.