By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
A memorial service for former student Emmanuel Anyanwu is being tentatively planned for Thursday night in the Chapel on the Hill.
Anyanwu, 22, died early Saturday evening in a car wreck on North First and Mesquite streets. He was partially ejected from his Mitsubishi sports utility vehicle after it was hit from behind. According to the Abilene Police Department accident report, Anyanwu died at the scene.
Jamie Cromwell, senior chemistry major from Pinehurst, was driving the other vehicle, a four-door Mitsubishi, and may face charges of manslaughter later this year.
Both vehicles were traveling east on North First Street when the accident occurred.
“I was on my way to work, brushing my hair – same road I take every single day,” Cromwell said. “It’s so random because it’s something you do every single day, then it’s just different.”
Cromwell said the brush got tangled in her hair, and she dropped it. She bent down to pick it up, and when she looked up she saw the SUV stopped at the intersection in front of her.
“I knew I was going to hit him,” she said.
When the two vehicles collided, Anyanwu’s vehicle flipped. According to the accident report, he was not wearing a seatbelt.
“I saw it flip, and I started freaking out,” Cromwell said.
After getting out of her car, she tried to help, but couldn’t get him out of the vehicle. Eventually, another car pulled up and called 911. An emergency medical technician also happened to drive by the scene and stopped to help.
“It could have been seconds, could have been minutes. It seemed like an eternity,” Cromwell said. “I was crying, sobbing and apologizing, all the stupid stuff you do.”
Cromwell was taken to Hendrick Medical Center but did not have any injuries.
“Physically I’m fine,” she said. “My vehicle is totaled. His is fine, but he’s dead, and I don’t have a scratch on me.”
“I wish it were me instead of him.”
Because the accident resulted in the death of Anyanwu, the police are testing Cromwell’s blood for drug and alcohol content. It could take up to six months to get the results back, she said police told her.
“It’ll be negative,” Cromwell said.
However, when the results come in, Cromwell will go before a Taylor County grand jury that will decide if the case should go to court.
She could be charged with manslaughter.
“The police told me ‘live your life, do your thing’,” Cromwell said. “When (the test results) come back, I’m going to have to go through it all again.”
Cromwell said the police told her she was reckless for looking down, but they also told her Anyanwu wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
Anyanwu attended ACU for one semester in the spring of 2001. Although he was originally from Nigeria, he lived in Abilene with his wife and her children at the time of his death. He was a student at McMurry and the Shelton School of Nursing.
The International Students Association will plan a memorial service with Anyanwu’s family, which was supposed to arrive in Abilene Thursday night, said Susanne Drehsel, senior interdisciplinary major from Heidelberg, Germany and vice president of ISA.
Although Cromwell spent the week at home in Pinehurst, she said plans to be back in Abilene next week. She is on track to graduate in May.