NCSU remembers standout student killed in crash

May 9, 2017 GMT

The North Carolina State University campus was in mourning Monday following the death of a standout student who was set to graduate next Saturday.

Cheyanne Nicole Hass, 22, of Murphy, was killed early Sunday when the car she was in crashed on the way home from a graduation party, authorities said.

A Toyota Scion driven by fellow N.C. State senior James Randall Thomas, 21, of Ocean Reef Lane in Raleigh, was westbound on Penny Road near Holly Springs when Thomas lost control in a curve and the car ran off the roadway, struck a tree and overturned, authorities said.

Hass was in the backseat and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, authorities said.

“All of us in the N.C. State community are grieving the tragic loss of Cheyanne Hass, a bright and ambitious Electrical Engineering student who was set to graduate this coming Saturday,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a statement. “To all of our students, on behalf of N.C. State, I want to remind and encourage each of you to take care of yourselves and look after each other as you celebrate the end of the school year and graduation.”

Woodson was expected to mention Hass during graduation ceremonies, school officials said, and a vigil was held Monday evening on Centennial Campus.

“I cried for a little while,” classmate Eowyn Lucas said. “She’s about to graduate and go to grad school. I’m so excited for these opportunities, and all that’s gone for her. I can’t imagine where her family and her close friends are at right now.”

After getting her degree, Hass planned to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering at Duke University, where she had won a full scholarship.

Marshall Brain, the director of N.C. State’s Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, said Hass spent the last few months developing a technology for first responders that could wind up saving thousands of lives.

“Our senior design project was something she came up with the idea for. It was a device for first responders to help monitor people’s vital signs, so she wanted so badly to help people. That was her whole issue,” said classmate Maria Sable. “I’m just going to miss all the changes she could have made in the world.”

Continual Care, which Hass and three other students created for a senior class project, fits on someone’s wrist to take vital signs. Brain said millions of police officers, lifeguards and other first responders don’t have access to such technology.

“There’s no question she could have helped thousands or millions of people, and we just, humanity lost that,” he said.

Thomas and another passenger, Mason Andrew Lanier, 21, of Illinois, suffered serious injuries in the crash and were being treated at WakeMed.

Authorities said alcohol and speed were factors in the crash and that Thomas will be charged with driving while impaired, reckless driving and felony death by motor vehicle upon release from the hospital.