On Monday evening in Omaha, NE, more than 800 friends, relatives, and fellow students attended a vigil at a Creighton University church to remember, pray, and comfort one another over the death of Joan R. Ocampo-Yambing, 19, a victim of a tragic car accident that occurred earlier that day.
The accident happened that morning on I-80, near the 84th Street underpass. The driver of a semitrailer truck failed to notice that traffic had slowed and proceeded to collide into a Prius. Afterwards, the semi collided with a Chrysler Sebring convertible and came to a rest on top of that vehicle. The Sebring collided one more time into a Freightliner semi. The two occupants of the Sebring were pinned underneath the truck that caused the initial impact but managed to be extracted and suffered minor to moderate injuries.
The driver and passengers inside the Prius were not so lucky. The driver is currently hospitalized and being treated for skull fractures, a back injury, and a severe concussion while two of the passengers, also students at Creighton University, are being treated for facial fractures and head lacerations. The third passenger, Joan R. Ocampo-Yambing, passed away at Nebraska Medicine.
Joan, who was from Rosemount, Minnesota, was a computer science major who would have started her sophomore year this week. She was a dean’s fellow at Creighton University, heavily involved in campus ministry, and recently published a book of her own poetry. According to friends and staff members on campus, she was an exceptional student and individual– someone everyone looked up to.
Speaking at the vigil Monday night, Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, Creighton University’s president, encouraged everyone who gathered to look for hope, healing, and mercy. “As surely as I know this campus and this community, we will find a way to come to that healing, that mercy,” he said.
The university is offering grief counseling and spiritual and pastoral care to students. The accident remains under investigation.