Art therapist may have been suicidal
Ilene Sperling may have wanted to end her own life, according to investigators in Tennessee.
Sperling, a 42-year-old art therapist who lived in Durham before moving to Chapel Hill, was struck and killed Tuesday night on a highway in Cosby, a town west of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Sgt. Bill Miller, spokesman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, said that Sperling drove her 2013 Honda Fit off the road on Foot Hills Parkway near Interstate 40 and struck a tree, causing the front airbags to deploy.
She then apparently walked about five miles along U.S. Highway 321 “and laid down in (the) road where she was struck by the 2000 Subaru Outback” driven by Charles Williams of Cosby.
“The trooper advised me that a BOLO (be on the lookout) was issued from (North Carolina) for Ilene Sperling, who was a missing person and reported to have been suicidal,” Miller said.
Friends and relatives reported her missing to the Chapel Hill Police Department on Tuesday after they lost contact with her.
She was one of the founders of the North Carolina Art Therapy Institute in Carrboro. A memorial service was planned for her at the Levin Jewish Community Center in Durham on Saturday, 4 to 7 p.m.
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