Mum-of-two Dawn Croke is believed to have pushed the six-year-old daughter of her partner out of harm's way before the car crashed into them.

A Co Donegal teacher has tragically been killed after saving the life of the six-year-old girl standing beside her. Mum-of-two Dawn Croke was standing in the grounds of St Crona’s National School in Dungloe, Co Donegal, at 6:30 pm on Thursday evening with her partner Paddy McHugh and McHugh’s six-year-old daughter.

In what appears to be a freak accident, a white Ford Ranger jeep began to travel in the direction of Croke and the young girl, with the young teacher pushing the six-year-old away before bearing the brunt of the impact of the car herself.

Croke, who was in her early 30s and a teacher in the nearby Rosses Community School, died instantly while the young girl was rushed to Letterkenny General Hospital having suffered a broken pelvis and foot injury.

An investigation is currently underway to discover what caused the jeep to move forward.

The school in which she taught is to remain closed through Monday as the community comes to terms with their shocking loss. In a statement, the school expressed their condolences to her family, including her partner Paddy and sons Jason and Calum.

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Dawn Croke.

Dawn Croke.

"Our school community wishes to offer our sincerest condolences on the tragic death of our colleague and friend, Ms. Dawn Croke,” the statement read.

"We offer our condolences to her father and staff member Tony Croke, his wife Anne, our student Emily, past pupils Aaron, Ethan and Adam, her partner Patrick, and her sons Jason and Calum on the sad passing of our wonderful teacher and friend Ms. Dawn Croke.

"Our school wish to send our love and support to the family, school and local community at this sad time.

"We, the school community, remember with love and fondness our colleague Dawn. We pray for the family and friends at this sad time."

Local politician Pat the Cope Gallagher, who is a personal friend of the family, also expressed his sympathy.

“Dawn Croke was an exceptionally gifted individual with a massive personality and warmth that radiated from her on each occasion you met her,” he said.

"I knew Dawn well, she is a member of a well-known and much respected Dungloe family. Just last month in December she visited me in Dáil Eireann with a class from Rosses Community School.

Our school community wish to offer our sincerest condolences on the tragic death of our colleague and friend, Ms Dawn...

Publiée par Rosses Community School sur Vendredi 11 janvier 2019

"She later brought the class to meet Brother Kevin Crowley and visit the homeless centre in Dublin to present a cheque of €1,000, which she and the class had successfully raised for the charity.

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"I have spoken earlier today to Brother Kevin to convey news of the tragedy; he recalled her visit and was greatly saddened by the tragic news,” Gallagher added.

"Dawn worked in the Rosses Community School, like her father before her who taught in the same school for many years. She was employed as a PE and Recourse teacher within the school.

"She was dearly loved by her students and her work colleagues all of whom are devastated at the news of her untimely death.

"I wish to express my deepest sympathies and my profound personal sadness to her parents, her sons, her siblings, to her work colleagues in the Rosses Community School and her wider circle of family and friends.

"There is a deep sense of shock and disbelief within our community that such a freak and tragic accident occurred, and the cloud of sadness is even greater when it has taken the life of one that had contributed so much to our community and that was so widely loved and respected by all those who knew her and worked with her."