updated 2/28/2006 9:11:53 PM ET 2006-03-01T02:11:53

The father of the first female space shuttle commander was struck and killed by a car during a visit to hear his daughter give a speech about her experiences.

James Collins, 79, was hit on Monday. No immediate charges were brought against the driver, Jeffrey Gardner, 41.

“Preliminary findings show it was an accident,” said police Sgt. Sharon Moyer.

Collins’ daughter, Eileen Collins, had come to her hometown of Elmira to tell high school students about her experiences last summer as commander of Discovery, the first shuttle to fly since the Columbia disaster.

“I’m in awe of her ... I really am,” her father told the Star-Gazette newspaper after hearing her speak.

The Discovery flight was Eileen Collins’ fourth and final mission and her second in the commander’s seat.

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