Tragedy strikes NSU
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Campus News

Tragedy strikes NSU

Published 9/18/17

Zach Cobler

TNE Writer

Tragedy struck the campus of NSU as five students were killed in a crash late last night. The accident occurred on Welling Bridge as the 2006 Chevrolet Colorado fell 35 feet from the bridge.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol identified the victims as Donovan Caldwell, Muskogee freshman; Jessica Startwout, McAlester freshman; Drake Wells, Thackerville freshman; Rhianna Seely, Salina freshman; and Lily Murphy, Gentry, Ark. freshman. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing and no details have been released as to what might have caused the pickup to go off the bridge.

In an email to university students, President Turner confirmed the death of the students and expressed his condolences to the students’ friends and families.

The RiverHawk community is reeling in this time of tragedy. The students came together to pray for the victims, their familie, and the school today at Second Century Square on the Tahlequah campus. Students were visibly distraught as they came together to show a sign of love to the students who were lost.

“I knew Donovan,” said Yassine Kharazzi, Fort Gibson freshman. “He was always really easy to talk to and relaxed. This situation just makes me think about life. It makes me feel that life’s extremely precious and in any moment it can change.”

The mark has been felt on the campus even for the students who did not know the students who were involved in the accident.

“Although I did not know any of the students, it fills me with great sadness to see the way their friends on campus have been affected losing them,” said Cidney Ross, McCurtain junior.

Even in this darkness, NSU looks to come together with love and support of everyone affected by this tragedy. The pain and sadness of this tragedy will be felt on the RiverHawk campus in the coming days, weeks and months. These unfortunate circumstances have led to a sense of unity that has brought the NSU community together.

“This is the perfect time for us to be a community,” said Bryce Stafford, director of the NSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry. “We can show our brothers and sisters who were affected by this tragedy our love and compassion.”

In midst of all the emotions across, NSU students have looked to come together as a family. The RiverHawks will look to lean on each other as they try to get through this tragedy.

With the tragic loss of five of our students, it’s hard to find words to acknowledge the wave of sincere emotion felt across campus today,” said Colton Thompson, NSGA president, in a statement to the students. “During my time here, I have developed a lot of pride in being a RiverHawk and I think it’s times like these in which it truly finds its meaning. Here at NSU our student body is like a family. I know firsthand of our ability to gather together around those that are hurting and to collaborate to help those in need. Our students are selfless and constantly looking past their own interests and goals to help out other members of our community. As your current student body president and fellow RiverHawk, I believe it’s my responsibility to encourage you all to continue in this pattern of solidarity and compassion. Let us demonstrate what it means to be a RiverHawk by coming together in our thoughts, prayers and actions to support those impacted by this tragedy.”

NSU will provide support to the friends and fellow students of the victims through counselors. HawkReach Counseling Services and Student Affairs are available at 918-444-2042 and 918-444-2120 respectively. Any student who feels they need help in any way is encouraged to call.

There will be a prayer vigil held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, at Second Century Square.


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