Jan. 16 (UPI) — A student-athlete of the College of the Holy Cross’ women’s rowing team was killed and several others were injured after a red pickup truck crashed into their team transport van in Florida, officials said.
Grace Rett died as a result of her injuries, the school said in a statement.
“Grace was a light to all who knew her,” said a visibly shaken Holy Cross Dean of Students Michele Murray during a press conference. “She was incredibly passionate and hardworking.”
Thirteen people, including the male driver of the pickup truck, were taken to the hospital as a result of the crash, said Vero Beach Police Department Chief David Currey.
He said some of those hospitalized sustained “some serious injuries.”
Murray said seven of the school’s row team, including a coach, remained hospitalized.
Officers responded to reports of the accident just before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in Vero Beach, roughly 100 miles southeast of Orlando, Currey said.
Base on their preliminary reports, Currey said the team’s van was traveling south when it made a lefthand turn. The northbound pickup truck then smashed into its front right passenger side, where Rett was sitting.
The van was transporting 11 people, including a coach, when the crash occurred, he said.
“To my knowledge, [Rett] was wearing a seatbelt,” he said.
The student-athletes from the Massachusetts private Jesuit liberal arts college were in Florida for winter training ahead of the rowing season, the school said.
“Our community has suffered a tragic loss,” Holy Cross President Rev. Philip L. Boroughs said in a statement. “I extend my deepest condolences to Grace’s family, members of the women’s rowing team and their coaches and all who loved Grace.”
Murray said Rett, who turned 20 on Tuesday, had recently set a world record for continuous indoor rowing in her age group at 62 hours and three seconds.
“This is a terrible loss for our community,” she said.