Claudine Nibigira, 17, died after being hit by a car just after 10 p.m. Monday while walking in the 3600 block of Clark Lane in eastern Columbia.

Nibigira was a junior at Battle High School, Columbia Public Schools spokesperson Michelle Baumstark said. Counselors were available Tuesday to students and staff at Battle.

According to the news release, Tamara J. Lewis, 44, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, was traveling east when the silver Infiniti she was driving struck Nibigira.

Police don’t suspect that alcohol or drugs were involved, according to the release. The investigation is ongoing.

Nikki Aguero, one of Nibigira’s teachers, described her as loving, kind, caring and hard-working. Aguero said she was a caregiver to her family and had a job outside of school.

“She wanted to be the best that she could be regardless of what life threw at her, and she worked hard at that,” Aguero said.

Aguero said Nibigira was on track to graduate early this year as a junior and that “she had big dreams and big goals.” She was involved with the Culture Club at school.

Aguero also noted Nibigira’s big personality and big laugh.

“On a good day, she was the life of the party,” Aguero said. “She brightened everyone’s day.”

  • Business reporter, fall 2019 Studying business and economics journalism Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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