Students, faculty, staff, friends and family poured into the waiting room in the Hendrick Medical Center trauma unit Friday night to await information about six ACU students involved in a deadly car crash.
More than 250 students packed the waiting room, filled the hallway and lingered outside the ER. Groups of anxious students hugged and comforted each other. Members of the ACU faculty and staff mingled with the students, offering support and comfort.
“I was amazed last night, there were probably 250 students, so many in the emergency room that at some point the emergency room staff had to ask that we relocate to another place,” said Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university.
The accident, involving two pickup trucks and seven people, occurred at 8:21 p.m. on TX-36. By 11 p.m., the emergency room was full of anxious acquaintances.
At 11:50 p.m. Mark Lewis, assistant dean for Spiritual Life and Chapel programs, announced the injured students were Robert Braddock, Rebekah Cherniss, Callie Kerbo, Deanna Romero and Eric Terrazas. He then informed the crowd Lindsey Smith, junior Ad/PR major from New Braunfels, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the other truck was also killed in the crash.
Stacy Acton, junior elementary education major from Boulder, Co., drove to the hospital with some friends when they heard their friend, Braddock, was injured and being treated at Hendrick.
“We only knew that Bo was there and we all jumped in the car and drove to Hendrick,” Acton said.
Acton said she knew Smith had been riding in the car with Braddock. She said when the announcement of Smith’s death was made she saw people falling to the ground, crying and running away. She said she had never heard so much wailing in one place.
“We just got together, held each other and cried,” Acton said.
Acton said Smith was one of her best friends. She said the last thing she told her was, “I love you.”
Michael Davis, junior finance and accounting major from West Lake Calif., also rushed to the hospital after hearing about the accident.
He said details were vague at first and he kept hearing different information. Davis was friends with Smith and when he heard rumors she had been killed, he said he didn’t believe it.
“We heard the words, we just didn’t believe it,” he said.
As Lewis was reading the names of the students involved, Davis said he could see Smith’s photo on the sheet with a note written by it saying she had passed away. He said, at that point, it became real.
“We were all just kind of in shock,” Davis said.
Davis said his friends began to pray.
“We were angry, but we just had to let it out to God and let him know that we still believe and He’s still good,” he said.