Duke Senior Rebecca Denardis Killed, Others Injured, in Florida [Updated 9 a.m., March 20]]

Students' van struck by a vehicle whose driver has been charged with DUI manslaughter

[Update, 9 a.m., March 20] -- Members of the Duke community are invited for a memorial service for Rebecca Denardis, which will be held at 5:30 p.m., Friday, March 21, on the Chapel Quad.

[Update, 11 a.m., March 19] -- Visitation and funeral services have now been set for Rebecca Denardis. Visitation will be from 4 - 8 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Cary. A funeral service will begin at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 23, at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Cary.


A Duke University senior was killed and another Duke student was seriously injured Friday when their van was struck by another vehicle, whose driver has been charged with DUI manslaughter and other counts.

Rebecca Denardis of Cary was declared dead at North Okaloosa Hospital Center in Crestview, Fla., following the accident, which occurred about 11:45 a.m. on Interstate 10 in northwest Florida.  Another Duke student was airlifted to a hospital in Pensacola.

They and five other Duke students -- sophomores Mandy Jiang and Lynn Zhang, juniors James Ferguson and Anne Piotrowski and senior Shannon Kalsow -- were traveling in the van with Nathan McKinnis, the director of Duke's Outdoor Adventures program. Another four Duke students and a part-time staff member were traveling in a truck, which was not involved in the incident. All were returning to campus after a 5-day canoeing and camping trip along Florida's Blackwater River during Duke's spring break.

Denardis was double-majoring in computer science and mathematics. A dean's list student throughout her time at Duke, she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa during her junior year, held two internships with Google and was active in the Round Table selective living group and other campus activities. She was a recipient of the Braxton Craven Scholarship at Duke, a full scholarship that pays for a student's tuition during her four years of undergraduate study. Denardis planned to work for Google after graduating from Duke in May.

Since the incident occurred, Duke officials have been assisting the affected students and staff members, who were not seriously injured and who flew back to Durham Saturday. Duke police and other campus officials also have been in close contact with medical and police officials in Florida.

"Dean Sue [Wasiolek], Police Chief John Dailey and I drove to Rebecca's house this evening to meet with her family and tell them that the entire Duke community mourns the loss of their daughter, who was a shining light for us," said Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs. "In the days ahead, we will be providing counseling and other support for Rebecca's friends and anyone else affected by this tragic event. We also will work with the family to organize a memorial event."

The driver of the other car -- Martin Zachary Hale, 25 of Jemison, Ala., -- has been charged with one count of DUI manslaughter, one count of DUI serious bodily injury, six counts of DUI injury and one count of DUI property damage, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

[This article has been updated to provide new details and to show the official time of the accident.]