The deadly crash happened around 3:45 a.m. Saturday near exits 79 and 79A, when a southbound-traveling vehicle drove onto the northbound side of the highway, striking the passenger van carrying 8 Conn. College students, said State Police. A Conn. College spokesperson has identified the passenger killed as Elizabeth Durante of West Islip, NY.
5 of the students were brought to Backus Hospital in Norwich. Two others were rushed to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London. All have since been treated and released.
A school spokesman says the students were headed to the airport for a spring break service trip to Uganda.
State Police say the driver, Daniel Musser an enlisted member of the U.S. Navy, faces charges including manslaughter and DUI. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday. The northbound side of the interstate was shut down for nearly 5 hours while police investigated.
Conn. College is providing counseling for students that are on campus. More counseling will be available when classes resume after spring break.
Conn. College Statement:
The Connecticut College community suffered a heartbreaking loss this morning. Elizabeth Durante '10, of West Islip, New York, was killed in a traffic collision on I-395. Through the Asayo Wish Foundation, Elizabeth was part of a group of Connecticut College students traveling to Uganda on a community service trip.
The group was heading to Kaberamaido, Uganda as part of a medical mission with Asayo's Wish Foundation. The students were to have delivered medical supplies and helped provide basic medical care to the village's residents. The trip was organized by Elizabeth Durante and another student.
In a statement to the Connecticut College community, President Leo I. Higdon Jr., said, “Elizabeth was a student of enormous talent, commitment and compassion. Her passing is an incalculable loss to our community. Our deepest sympathies are with Elizabeth's family and with her many friends on campus.”
Stories about Elizabeth Durante's service trips overseas: