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Bicyclist struck by vehicle in Woodacre dies

A woman who died Monday night while riding a bicycle in the Woodacre area of Marin County was identified as Debra DiBenedetto, a teacher at Dixie Elementary School in San Rafael, Principal Will Anderson said Tuesday afternoon.

DiBenedetto, 63, from San Geronimo, was with the Dixie School District for over 20 years, according to Anderson.

Anderson said:

“We are heartbroken. On Friday night, we are planning a Dia de los Muertos/Harvest Festival where we will include a moment of silence in honor of (her) service to our community.”

Grief counselors supported students and staff today at the school located at 1175 Idylberry Road, Anderson said.

DiBenedetto, a second-grade teacher, was riding a bicycle when she was struck by a 2006 Ford Explorer on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard west of Railroad Avenue around 5:30 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

She was found in a ditch near the right shoulder of the road and taken to Marin General Hospital were she was pronounced dead, the CHP said.

The driver of the Ford, Paula Drake, 24, of Fairfax, was arrested and booked under $500,000 bail in the Marin County jail on suspicion of DUI causing death and gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the jail booking log.

The CHP said it appears the collision occurred on the shoulder of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, not in a traffic lane of the road, and DiBenedetto was not wearing a helmet.

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