Marisa Harris
Marisa Harris, 22, of Olney, Maryland, was killed after a suicidal 12-year-old boy jumped on her car from an overpass. Facebook

A woman has died after a suicidal 12-year-old jumped 30ft from an overpass and landed on her car as she was driving on a motorway.

Marisa Harris was driving her 2005 Ford Escape in Virginia, heading eastbound on the Interstate 66 towards Washington DC on Saturday (28 October), when tragedy struck.

At just before 4.30pm she was driving under the Cedar Lane overpass, near the Nutley Street exit, when the boy landed on the 22-year-old's car.

Harris' boyfriend, who was travelling in the front passenger seat of the SUV, grabbed the wheel and was able to safely steer the car off the highway.

But tragically Harris, a graduate student at Marymount University in Arlington, was pronounced dead at the scene while her boyfriend was left unhurt.

The boy, who has not been named, was rushed to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

The interstate between Nutley and Gallows was closed for several hours after the incident while emergency services attended the scene.

Police continued to investigate the incident on Monday while Harris' family faced the devastation of losing the "caring" clinical counselling student.

It was reported that Harris, of Olney, Maryland, had recently returned from a trip to Budapest as part of her college course.

Her mother Leigh Harris said, according to WUSA9 News, that her daughter's death was "ironic" as she would have helped the boy who killed her, in her job.

Her father, Patrick Harris, described her as outgoing and well-travelled with an affinity for the outdoors and a love of hiking, reported the Washington Post.

"She was fearless, she was absolutely fearless," he said. "She was loved by her friends, she was dearly loved by her family, she was admired by her peers, she was just a shining star."