Kent Co. preschool teacher killed by alleged drunk driver


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A preschool teacher who spent the last year serving in the Godfrey-Lee Public Schools District was killed over the weekend in a crash north of Petoskey.

Lorri Dawes, 38, died Saturday after the vehicle she was riding in was hit head on. Police say Nickalas Murrell, 26, was drunk and driving on a suspended license when he smashed into Dawes’ family car near US-31 and M-119 north of Petoskey.

Dawes worked for the Kent Intermediate School District and was placed at Godfrey-Lee’s Early Childhood Center last year.

The principal of her building said she was the ideal teacher.

“She really made sure that this was home for those kids and that they received the best education possible,” Principal Pete Geerling told 24 Hour News 8. “For something like that to be gone in an instant like that from something so senseless is really sad.”

It wasn’t clear whether Dawes was to return to Godfrey-Lee next school year or whether she was to be placed somewhere else. Either way, Geerling said her death is a loss to the education community.

Murrell was charged with a dozen felonies in connection with the crash and was not seriously hurt. Dawes’ family members riding with her were also taken to the hospital for treatment.

Geerling said the circumstances surrounding her death should be a learning moment for the community.

“Decisions like that can that can easily be avoided can really have an impact on families,” Geerling said. “And not just one family – numerous families.”

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