University student dies after accident on Lincoln Avenue - The Daily Illini : Campus

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University student dies after accident on Lincoln Avenue

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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 12:38 pm | Updated: 12:08 pm, Thu Oct 10, 2013.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup has identified the victim of Wednesday’s accident as University student Mimi Liu, 20, of Chicago. Liu was a junior in ACES, according to campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler.

Liu died from blunt force injuries sustained after being struck by a vehicle, according to a press release from the Champaign County Coroner. She died at Carle Foundation Hospital in the Emergency department at 10:39 a.m., and no autopsy will be performed.

Liu was transported to Carle and was declared dead after failed attempts to revive her, according to a press release from the Urbana Police Department.

A second victim, University student Spandana Mantravadi, was also hit by the truck and transported to Carle. She is not believed to have life-threatening injuries, according to the press release.

The two victims were struck by the truck on Lincoln Avenue near Nevada Street, according to Urbana Police detective Matt Rivers.

The truck was driven by Willie Craft, Sr., 58, of Urbana. Craft was traveling south on Lincoln Avenue around 10 a.m. and drove across a sidewalk several times, while also hitting street signs and an occupied vehicle in traffic.

He was also transported to Carle for treatment and consented to blood and urine samples.

Craft was cited for improper lane usage and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

The two victims were walking near the McKinley Health Center, said witness Jeremy Thurman, a construction worker working outside McKinley. He said one victim was swept under the truck and the other was thrown over it.

Hanna Hawkins, sophomore in Applied Health Sciences, said she was nearly hit by the truck before it hit the two females.

“I heard a loud noise, and I turned around and the truck was flying down the sidewalk,” said Hawkins. “He just kept going, then I heard two screams and then I just kept running down the sidewalk.”

Miranda Coello, junior in Media, was in the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority house near the accident when it occurred. Coello said she went outside to the scene and saw one of the victims receiving CPR from paramedics on the sidewalk before being taken away by an ambulance.

All car traffic between Nevada Street and Pennsylvania Avenue on Lincoln Avenue was blocked off by police following the accident. Traffic reopened around 2:30 p.m.

The investigation is ongoing.

Hannah Prokop, Maggie Huynh, Dani Brown and Miranda Holloway contributed to this report.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Champaign County coroner's name was Duane Northrop. The Champaign County coroner's name is Duane Northrup. The Daily Illini regrets the error.

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  • ahw posted at 11:55 pm on Thu, Oct 10, 2013.

    ahw Posts: 1

    Please do note that the DUIs in the Champaign Circuit Clerk records were all for a Willie Craft born in 1983, so those would not be the 58-year-old Willie Craft involved in the accident.

  • vcponsardin posted at 1:07 pm on Thu, Oct 10, 2013.

    vcponsardin Posts: 1

    Clearly, suspending Mr. Craft's drivers license is meaningless. He's been ticketed multiple times over the last decade for driving without a license or on a suspended license. He's even been convicted of DUI. Why this man is allowed to own a vehicle is beyond me. His truck should be impounded and sold with proceeds going to the victim's family, MADD or some other reputable organization. And he should never be allowed to own another vehicle ever again. Should he ever get out of jail, every time he's pulled over for driving without a license from now on, the car he's in should be impounded and sold to prevent him from borrowing a car from someone else. This should be the law for all DUIs and serious repeat traffic offenders. SELL THEIR VEHICLES.

  • News10 posted at 10:50 am on Thu, Oct 10, 2013.

    News10 Posts: 1

    Please check Willie Craft's previous traffic violations at Why was he driving a vehicle? He hasn't had insurance or a driver's license for a long time. This is so sad and tragic for such a young person and a family.

  • XYZ posted at 1:14 pm on Wed, Oct 9, 2013.

    XYZ Posts: 1

    The truck was definitely in distress prior to the accident. Specifically, the front right wheel on the passenger side was nonexistent. It sounded as if he was driving on the rim. As a result, the truck almost jumped a curb after crossing over green st. on lincoln this morning at around 9:50 am. However, the driver was able to pull it back and, thankfully, I didn't get hit.

    The gas stations nearby might of caught this on tape due to the proximity.


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