Spring break is a time to blow off steam and get away from the stresses of school work for many students. With thousands of vacation-minded college students flocking to the sunshine state every spring, Florida is a popular destination for spring breakers. A group of students from Duke University most likely had a fun week in mind when they headed south for an outdoor adventure on the Blackwater River. They never thought that the week would end with a horrific car crash.
Sadly, the fun week of camping and canoeing did have a tragic ending just as the two vehicles full of students were heading home on Friday morning. One of their vehicles, a van, was struck by a pick-up truck that crossed the I-10 median. Several of the van’s passengers were treated for minor injuries on the scene, but two of the students were less fortunate. One young man had to be airlifted to a hospital in Pensacola with serious injuries.
A 21 year-old senior, who was attending Duke on a full scholarship, was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. The young woman had a double major in mathematics and computer science. A university spokesman stated that the school assisted the remaining students, who were accompanied by a Duke staff person on their trip, by making flight arrangements home on Saturday.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the pickup truck driver was under the influence at the time of the crash with the van full of students. He is being charged with DUI manslaughter for the death of the female student and DUI serious bodily injury for the other victim. In an effort to find closure to such a terrible situation, the family members of the deceased and injured students have the right to seek restitution through civil lawsuits against the drunk driver. Monetary damages awarded from successful wrongful death and personal injury claims could help the victims’ families cover any medical and funeral costs that resulted from the unfortunate incident.
Source: NewsObserver.com, Duke student from Cary dies in car crash after spring break in Florida, No author, March 15, 2014