Her boyfriend, who was in the front passenger seat and uninjured, took control of the Ford Escape and steered it to safety.
Authorities said that witnesses told investigators that Bankhead was driving down the state highway when she turned off and positioned the auto toward the cliff, then suddenly accelerated.
Marisa W. Harris, 22, of Olney, Md., was killed when a 12-year-old boy jumped from an overpass over I-66 in Virginia on Saturday, and hit the vehicle Harris was driving, police said. Harris was killed by the impact, while her boyfriend was not hurt. However, the front-seat passenger survived the accident without any injuries and was able to stop the auto after steering it off the interstate.
Her father, Patrick Harris, told the Post he wasn't ignorant about the circumstances of her death. The boy who fell off the overpass was taken to Fairfax Inova Hospital, and is being treated for life-threatening injuries.
Harris graduated summa cum laude from Towson University before beginning her graduate program at Marymount University where she studied mental health counseling.
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Marisa's parents told that she was a student of the Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, pursuing a master's degree in the domain of clinical counseling.
"She was fearless; she was absolutely fearless", he said. She was "caring, compassionate and genuine", Jackson-Cherry said.
Shanks said that a memorial service will be held later, and that, "The loss of any student, particularly in so heartbreaking a manner, grieves us all".
Officials said they found nothing mechanically wrong with the vehicle, but were unable to recover information from a water-damaged device on the vehicle that records speed, acceleration and breaking.