Woman Killed Trying To Thwart Car Thieves Had Big Heart - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Woman Killed Trying To Thwart Car Thieves Had Big Heart

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Avonna Olson Avonna Olson
TULSA, Oklahoma -

It has been a great loss for the family and friends of Avonna Olson, the woman who was killed Friday morning while fighting off a car thief.

Police have arrested Destin Ray Rodriguez, 18, in conjunction with the crime, and are looking for Brandon Maxwell, 19, who has been charged with second-degree murder.

3/9/12 Related Story: Tulsa Teenager Arrested In Fatal Car Theft Attempt

Avonna was 45, married, the mother of three daughters and a grandmother.

She's described as a wonderful person with one of the biggest hearts around.

Her family and friends are devastated by her death.

Avonna Olson worked for Tulsa public schools, she started as a night janitor in 1997 and worked her way up to laundry supervisor.

Her co-workers say she was more than just a friend, she was like family.

They say she took pride in her work and participated in community activies -- the United Way fundraiser and day of caring and she marched in the MLK parade.

They are shocked she is gone, certainly for something as senseless as a thief taking her van.

"These thieves are patrolling neighborhoods, walking neighborhoods, they're cold, so they jump into the first available vehicle to get where they're going," Tulsa Police Sergeant Justin Farley said. "A lot of times, it's just a means of transportation."

Avonna's van was her means of transportation to work, and she was the sole financial support at home.

Police say she had started her car, then gone back inside.

When she heard someone get in it, she went back outside, confronted the thief, and they struggled.

"As they're driving off, she falls out and was crushed underneath the vehicle, as they drive off," TPD Corporal Dan Miller said.

Police quickly found her van abandoned at the Sandy Park Apartments and took custody of it to search it for evidence.

They believe the thief parked it and ran.

Even though he likely didn't set out to kill anyone, he now faces a murder charge.

"A felony to steal a van, a felony," TPD Sergeant Dave Walker said. "Somebody dies in the process of that felony, it's be considered felony murder."

Those who met her say Avonna made a lasting impression, with her love of children, her huge heart and the pride she took in a job well done.

One can hope those lasting memories will provide her family and friends, a measure of comfort in their time of need.

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