Miss Deaf Texas Killed by Train

3-14-06 - The reigning Miss Deaf Texas died Mondayafter being struck by a train in Austin. Police confirm the victim was 18year-old Tara Rose McAvoy of Austin. State pageant director Laura Loeb-Hill, via e-mail to The Associated Press, said McAvoy was crowned last June. She'd been deaf since birth.

Authorities believe McAvoy was walking near some tracks when she was struck by a Union Pacific train. Witness Carlos Burgos told KTBC television that the train was sounding its horn right up until the time the accident happened. McAvoy was to represent Texas at the Miss Deaf America pageant this summer in Palm Desert, California. Loeb-Hill says McAvoy represented Texas "with dignity and pride."

McAvoy graduated last year from the Texas School for the Deaf, attended Austin Community College, then started at Gallaudet
University in January, but had returned to Texas.