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Jennifer Lawson, 39, dies after truck accident in Arlington

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(WJLA) - The horrifying pictures of the car tell a lot about what happened here in Arlington. The back door of the minivan is torn off, with the child car seat in the back still in place.

A community comes together

Police say the mother, 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson of Arlington, was leaning in to pull her baby out of the car when a truck came rolling by. She was reported in critical condition after being hit, and at approximately 5:30 p.m., was reported to have died from her injuries.

The accident happened directly across the street from Nottingham Elementary School on Little Falls Road, and parents and those who live in the neighborhood say motorists routinely drive way too fast coming down this particular street, which is somewhat narrow.

"People go too fast in this area and they know there is a school right here," says nearby resident Maria Tarqui.

According to police, the driver of the truck stopped his rig and stayed on the scene until help arrived. The child in the back seat was not hurt.

On Monday night, some left flowers near the spot where Lawson, a mother of three, was hit.

"I saw belongings and stuff in the street, and I saw there was a person laying there," said witness Mike Meehan. He and his wife were watching his grandchildren in a home just a few dozen feet away when this happened.

"Her leg was in very, very bad shape, but we had no idea the magnitude, and that she would be passing away this evening. We are so sorry for this family," he said.

Lawson lived just blocks from where she was hit, and also attended a Presbyterian church only a block away. The pastor tells ABC7 that this is a terrible loss, and that Lawson was a wonderful mother to her three children.

At least one of the three goes to Notthingham Elementary, where news of the tragedy is starting to spread.

"It's going to be difficult...a lot of kids know about it already and are going to start asking questions," said parent Kris Holmes.

Jim Toronto is with the Williamsburg Civic Association, and has lived in the neighborhood 30 years. He says the community has long tried to get safety improvements to that particular section of Little Falls Road. He says speed can be an issue, but parking is also another one.

"If it would help clear up any potential for another accident, I think it would be well worth it," Toronto says of banning public parking on the street altogether.

Parking is allowed on both sides of the street, which makes it very narrow.

Jennifer Buckley is a mother of two Nottingham students. She parks on the road all the time, but also agrees it's time to consider changes:

"It's really difficult to find parking close to the school when we have events. This is a very large school now. Losing any parking is difficult, but I think safety has to come first."

To contribute to fundraising efforts for the Lawson family, click here.

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