Popular BCCCA history teacher killed in head-on crash

By DONNA HARRIS
Posted 1/13/21

The Bartow County School System is mourning the loss of another educator. Kingston resident Shauna D'Agostino, who taught history at the Bartow County College and Career Academy, was killed …

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Popular BCCCA history teacher killed in head-on crash

Posted
The Bartow County School System is mourning the loss of another educator. 
 
Kingston resident Shauna D'Agostino, who taught history at the Bartow County College and Career Academy, was killed Saturday morning in a head-on collision on Euharlee Road just east of Topridge Drive.
 
"Mrs. D has forever left her mark on the academy and the many students she has taught," BCCCA Principal Dr. Paul Sabin said Monday. "I do not know how we will move forward, but I know we will do it together. I told her students today that Mrs. D would want us to move forward and be the best student, teacher or administrator we can be. It is our job to do our best to be better in her memory."  
 
At 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Mrs. D'Agostino, 42, was returning home after having breakfast with her husband, Dominic, 40, an English teacher at Woodland High, and her two daughters, Bella, 8, and Evie, 6, and picking up feed for their family's farm animals when their gray 2011 Toyota Sienna, driven by D'Agostino, was hit head-on by a black 2016 Hyundai Elantra driven by 34-year-old Trevus Jamaahl Baugh of Cartersville, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
 
The Elantra, which wasn't registered to Baugh, was traveling east in the westbound lane of Euharlee Road when it struck the passenger side of the Sienna, where Mrs. D'Agostino was seated.
 
The crash forced the Sienna off the south edge of the roadway and down an embankment, where it came to a final stop. The Elantra rotated clockwise and ended up on the north edge of the roadway.
 
After the collision, Baugh allegedly left the scene on foot without rendering aid or providing information.
 
First responders had to extricate Mrs. D'Agostino, who was transported to Cartersville Medical Center by Metro EMS but died from her injuries.
 
D'Agostino and his daughters did not require treatment. 
 
A third vehicle, a gray 2001 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 21-year-old Christopher Cassar of Emerson, was damaged by debris from the crash.
 
Neither Cassar, who was driving west on Euharlee Road, nor his passenger, 19-year-old Amber Ayotte of Acworth, was injured.  
 
After the accident, the Bartow County Sheriff's Office received a call from Baugh's girlfriend about a vehicle theft. 
 
She said the two of them were having an argument at her home on Cathedral Heights near Euharlee earlier that morning when Baugh took the keys to her Elantra from her purse and stole the car.
 
The information she gave about her car matched the description of the vehicle involved in the fatal crash just a few miles down the road from her home.
 
A witness confirmed the complainant's statement. 
 
As the responding deputy was returning to his patrol vehicle, he found Baugh's driver's license on the driveway near where the car had reportedly been parked.
 
After speaking to the state trooper who worked the crash, the deputy learned a wallet containing Baugh's debit cards was found inside the wrecked Elantra. 
 
Later that day, authorities apprehended Baugh in Cherokee County while he was fleeing from another traffic accident that involved a vehicle stolen from a home on Euharlee Road near the fatal crash, according the BCSO report.
 
Baugh was booked into the Bartow County Jail Saturday afternoon on charges of hit-and-run resulting in death and first-degree homicide by vehicle — both felonies — driving on the wrong side of the road, failure to maintain lane and reckless driving as well as felony theft by taking of a motor vehicle, felony burglary (forced entry of a residence) and felony theft by taking. 
 
An additional felony charge of probation violation was added late Monday afternoon, and he also had been charged with misdemeanor theft by shoplifting on Dec. 15. 
 
No bond was set for Baugh.
 
Mrs. D'Agostino was the second employee the school district had lost in less than two days. Phil Phillips, 65, the girls' soccer and football assistant coach at Cass High, died Thursday night. 
 
Her family, including her parents, Ron and Judy Wilson, is "holding up the best they can under the circumstances with such a tragic, totally unexpected loss," according to her brother, Shay Wilson of Kingston.
 
"Shauna was loving, full of energy, always putting the needs of others before her own," he said. "She was dedicated to her family and friends and loved them with everything she had. She also obtained her dreams of owning her own farm and loved taking care of all of the animals." 
 
Wilson, who will most miss his sister's "infectious smile and her love for her family," said she also loved her students. 
 
"Shauna was devoted to her students and did everything in her power to help them succeed," he said. "She had an ultra-positive personality, an engaging demeanor and impactful instruction in the classroom."
 
Sabin said Monday was a "difficult day for students and staff alike." 
 
"The day started with a very sad and difficult faculty meeting," he said. "Weaver Heating and Air Conditioning was kind enough to provide breakfast for the staff. This allowed time for the teachers and staff to grieve together and make our plans for the day."
 
The district also "deployed a great crisis intervention team" that included six counselors and "multiple personnel from the central office" at the school to support the teachers and students, Sabin said. 
 
"The general atmosphere has been very similar to the weather outside — cold and dreary," he said. "The halls are a lot quieter than normal, but everything seems calm. Our community has been so supportive, and we feel the compassion from all of our partners. I want to give a special thank you to Cartersville Chick-fil-A for providing lunch to the staff and crisis team here today. It means the world to feel so much support." 
 
Overall, Mrs. D'Agostino's students are "doing well," Sabin said. 
 
"There is a strong sense of family at the academy, and many of the teachers and students are leaning on each other for comfort and support," he said. "Some of the students gathered in small groups and told happy stories about 'Mrs. D' and her classes. Others were sad and sat in the media center, talking with a counselor. The students in her classes took some time to create cards and memories they hope to share with the family at the right time. I am very proud of our students and how they have shown love and compassion."   
 
Only employed at BCCCA since August but not a new teacher, Mrs. D'Agostino made quite an impression on her co-workers, according to Sabin. 
 
"When I think of Shauna, my first thought is energetic," he said. "She always came to school with an upbeat attitude and ready to change the world for the better. Teachers and students were attracted to her and always felt uplifted when they worked alongside Mrs. D. She has only been at the academy a short time, but it feels like she has been a part of the academy family forever. She will be missed more than I could ever express."
 
Sabin said Mrs. D'Agostino, who also taught at Mountain Education Charter High School at night, began collaborating with her team "from the very first day that she knew she was going to be at the academy."
 
"This year, she has served on our leadership team and worked closely with the academy guiding coalition," he said. "A first-year teacher at the academy serving on the leadership team would be unheard-of, but Shauna was so knowledgeable and engaging. She was a natural leader."