I worked with Connie and Monica while I was at Taylor. This is a sad day for the TU community.

Students, Staff Involved in Fatal Crash

April 26, 2006

Updated: 5:25 p.m., Thursday, April 27
Taylor University officials report that a van carrying professional staff and students was involved in a collision with a semitrailer on Interstate 69 near Highway 18.

Four students and one employee were killed in the accident, including:

Whitney E. Cerak, Gaylord, MI (photo)
Freshman, Undeclared major
Selected to be an Orientation Group Leader
Older sister Carlie is a Taylor student

Laurel E. Erb, St. Charles, IL (photo)
Junior, Art major

Bradley J. Larson, Elm Grove, WI (photo)
Senior, History major; Philosophy minor
Intended to go to law school

Elizabeth A. Smith, Mt. Zion, IL (photo)
Senior, Exercise Science major; Psych minor
Active in student leadership
Served as TWO ministry director
Active in promoting diversity awareness

Monica Felver, Creative Dining Services

Large Photo (.jpg)
Indiana State Police Release (.pdf)

One student and three employees were injured in the accident, including:

  • Laura J. VanRyn, senior
  • Vickie Rhodes, Creative Dining Services employee
  • Connie Magers, Creative Dining Services employee
  • Michelle Miller, Creative Dining Services employee

Laura VanRyn and Michelle Miller suffered serious injuries and are currently recovering at Parkview Hospital. Vicki Rhodes and Connie Magers are recovering at Marion General Hospital.

Updated: 2:20 p.m., Thursday, April 27

Funeral Arrangements, Memorial Services and Prayer
No information is yet known regarding funeral arrangements. Details regarding memorials and funeral arrangements will be shared as they become available.

Prayers and condolences for the Taylor community can be posted in our prayer forum.

A Vespers service, continuing Wednesday night’s time of corporate sharing, singing and grieving, will be held Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. in Rediger Auditorium.

A memorial service will be held on May 7 in Rediger Auditorium

Inauguration Information
After prayerful consideration and discussion, Taylor University officials have decided to proceed with the inauguration of Dr. Eugene B. Habecker tomorrow as scheduled at 10:00 a.m. in the Odle Arena.

Our decision was based upon our desire at this time especially to renew our commitment to one another as a Christ-centered faith community and to honor the memories of the students and staff members involved in Wednesday’s tragic accident. We desire to bring our students, faculty, staff and honored guests together, perhaps not with the original sense of celebration and anticipation we had planned, but rather as a demonstration of an intentional commitment to one another and to those things to which Christ has called us.

Campus Visitation Day
Campus Visitation Day will proceed as scheduled, although the format may change. If you would like to reschedule your visit for another time, please call the admissions office at 800.882.3456 (after 5pm: 765.730.1999).

Cancelations/Postponements

  • Friday: Classes canceled
  • Saturday: Taylathon canceled; Rescheduling will be considered next week
  • Thursday: Classes canceled
  • Thursday: Athletic events postponed
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