Asst. principal struck, killed by vehicle

Posted at 5:52 AM, Dec 25, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-26 08:58:37-05

Indian River County is mourning the loss of an assistant principal who was killed Wednesday in a vehicle incident. 

The sheriff's office said in a news release that Janai Cooper, 39, an assistant principal at Glendale Elementary, was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by her boyfriend, 44-year-old Brian Coffee.  

The incident occurred at their home in the 12500 block of Roseland Rd.

When deputies arrived, they found Cooper unresponsive. She was transported to the Sebastian River Medical Center where she later died.

Coffee told investigators that he was leaving the house to purchase cigarettes when he ran over Cooper. He said he did not realize she was outside or behind the vehicle.

Indian River County Sgt. Eric Flowers said detectives and a traffic homicide investigator interviewed Coffee the night of the incident.  Officials will spend the next few days determining the cause of the crash. 

Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar stated, "Our hearts go out to the family of Janai Cooper and every life she touched on a daily basis serving the children of our community."

Flowers said investigators will present their findings to the state attorney to determine if any charges will be filed. At this time, there are no arrests and no one in custody.  

The sheriff's office said Coffee has been cooperative with investigators throughout the investigation.

Indian River County School Superintendent Mark Rendell called Cooper's death an "incredible loss" of a "beloved figure."

Full statement from Rendell below: 

This is an incredible loss for the Glendale family and our entire school community. Janai was a talented young educator who was committed to help each and every child she came in contact with. Her positive impact on the lives of those around her was unmatched. Her energy and enthusiasm for learning was contagious. We were better because of her.