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Fairport-E.Rochester Post
  • Update: Fairport teacher Heather Boyum killed in Penfield crash

  • The Fairport community is mourning the loss of high school science teacher Heather Boyum, who was killed while riding her bike in Penfield Sunday. Many of Boyum’s former students said the school will never be the same without her. Grief counseling for students and staff is available for the remai...
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  • The Fairport community is mourning the loss of high school science teacher Heather Boyum, who was killed while riding her bike in Penfield on Sunday.
    Boyum, 40, of Perinton, was killed when riding her bicycle on Route 250 around 7:45 a.m. when she was struck — first by a motorcycle and then a car.
    Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies say Megan Merkel, 23, of Ontario was driving northbound alongside her boyfriend, Mark Scerbo, 22, of Penfield, who was riding his motorcycle in the same direction and slowing down periodically to do “wheelies.”
    Police say Scerbo started to pass Merkel's car on the right shoulder when he struck Boyum, who was biking on the right shoulder. She was thrown from the bike.
    It was previously reported that Merkel fled the scene, but according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Merkel had a passenger in the vehicle, who drove the car away and returned to the scene a short time later.
    Webster police then charged Merkel with DWI at the scene.
    Boyum passed away at Strong Memorial Hospital shortly afterward. She left her husband and two children, ages 4 and 7, behind.
    Scerbo has been charged with manslaughter and was arraigned in his hospital room on Monday, where he was still listed in satisfactory condition on Thursday.
    Scerbo is being held without bail. It couldn’t be determined if he or Merkel had lawyers.
    State corrections officials say he was released from prison July 5 after serving eight months for his third DWI conviction.
    Students gathered at Fairport High School after the crash on Sunday to remember their teacher. Boyum taught science at FHS for 10 years, and was known to many for her bright enthusiasm.
    Many of Boyum’s former students said the school will never be the same without her. Grief counseling for students and staff is available for the remainder of the week.
    “Very unreal,” said her former student Claudia Zanolli. “(I’m) kind of shocked.”
    Lauren Burke, now a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, remembers the way Boyum took an interest in her seeing her students outside of the classroom.
    “She would always ask me how things were going with track and let me know about her latest race or training session,” said Burke, who was in Boyum’s AP biology class. “You could tell she was a competitor because every time she talked about her training goals or upcoming races, she couldn’t stop smiling."
    Many will remember her smile for years to come.
    “She was an incredibly positive person, and she was a blessing to Fairport,” said Burke.
    Outside of school, Boyum was an accomplished athlete, completing a half Iron Man competition about a month ago. Her former student Diana Weber, 21, says Boyum encouraged her to complete her own mini triathlon.
    Page 2 of 2 - They would sometimes cross paths at the gym, and Boyum shared fitness advice, and was quick to spur Weber on.
    “It was really neat to see her striving to compete,” said Weber. “She was my teacher.”
    Along with her intensity and joy came a ripe sense of humor.
    “I really can picture her face, and she really was always smiling. I think that’s just a testament to her personality,” said Weber.
     Gretchen Stahlman and other members of the club, Moms in Motion, of which Boyum was a part, laid flowers at the site of the crash.
    Like so many others, Stahlman said she was shocked and saddened by what happened. She then wrote a blog post  in memory of Boyum. With it came a call to action.
    “The solution is not for those who are doing good things to stop doing those things,” she wrote. “The solution is for those committing crimes to stop making victims.”
    Boyum's funeral mass will be held at St. John of Rochester Church on Thursday, Aug. 2 at 11 a.m.
    —Includes reporting from WHEC.com, Bethany Young, Natascha Yogachandra, Nora Hicks and the Associated Press
     

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