Northeastern State University loses five in tragic car crash

Sunday Sept. 17, at approximately 10:40 p.m., a Chevrolet Colorado carrying five teenage Northeastern State University students clipped a guardrail on the side of Welling Road in Tahlequah, before overcorrecting and driving through a railing on the left side of the road. The truck went off a bridge, plummeting 35 feet, and was fully submerged in the river below.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol pronounced the driver, 18-year-old Donovan Caldwell, dead on the scene, as well as the four passengers: 18-year-olds Lily Murphy, Rhianna Seely and Jessica Swartwout and 19-year-old Drake Wells.
NSU president Steve Turner informed the university of the loss in a statement to students and faculty. “I cannot fathom the pain the families and friends of these young people are going through as a result of this terrible and tragic accident,” he wrote. “My thoughts and prayers are with them this morning.”
A prayer vigil was held on NSU’s campus for the students the next night. Hundreds of students attended to pay their respects, with many expressing distress and grief over the loss. “It’s pretty surreal,” said student Trevor Lindley. “It just goes to show you could be happy and then be gone.”

Post Author: Justin Guglielmetti