Father of Aiken County teacher killed in crash travels miles to find peace

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:58 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2023 at 11:45 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - One father traveled more than 2,500 miles to visit an elementary school where his daughter used to teach, hoping to fill a void after losing her in a deadly crash.

According to authorities, Freddie Smith, 44, was arrested on Thursday and charged with felony homicide by vehicle, serious injury by vehicle and reckless driving.

North Aiken Elementary Teacher Sabrina Molina is gone, but her memory and legacy are living on with her former students and family.

Molina died in a car accident 10 days ago. Her youngest child was also in the accident and remains in the hospital fighting for her life.

Molina’s father is back in California but will be back in town for the funeral.

Armando Carlos says the loss of a child brings on a set of unbearable emotions, but they are trying to find peace in the chaos.

“Everybody’s grieving over the loss of my daughter, but at the same time everybody’s praying over, you know, our granddaughter,” he said.

Carlos says he and his family saw hope for the first time Tuesday night.

“She is progressing. I did get some news last evening that she did wake after being in an induced coma since the accident,” said Carlos.

With two surgeries down, he is hopeful his granddaughter will make a full recovery. Even though the pain of losing his daughter is fresh, stories he continues to hear about the legacy she leaves behind is making all the difference.

“Your story touched me, and listening to the young lady speak about my daughter was very overwhelming for me,” he said.

He’s talking about 10-year-old Jorden Harrington, who shared with us that Molina was her favorite teacher.

“Ms. Molina actually understood us, and she actually did her job,” said Harrington.

Her words brought Molina’s father to his knees, on the other side of the country.

“When I saw your story; your tribute to my daughter, I gotta tell you Hallie,” he said.

So much so that he paid a visit to her classroom and finally found the peace he was searching for.

“I felt compelled to just go, and I remember just getting up the next morning, it was on a Friday, and there was a voice talking to me. I know it was my daughter talking to me,” said Carlos.

He was reminded of Molina’s strength, impact, love, and servant’s heart while reading the tributes on her legacy wall.

“I told them that we would want them all to go to college, study hard, and reach for their dreams,” said Carlos.

Carlos says he and Molina had plans for a spring break trip with her four children, something she was looking forward to. They are planning to go in her honor.