Car crash leaves two college students dead

One of the victims will graduate posthumously today.
Sunday, May 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:55 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two college students died in a fatal car crash early Friday morning, bringing the total of people who have died in car accidents in the last week to five.

Brandon Perkins, 23, a business student at Columbia College, and Samantha Black, 22, a senior at MU who was set to graduate today with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, were involved in a single-car accident at 12:50 a.m. on Providence Road at the Hinkson Creek bridge.

Black will graduate posthumously at the College of Arts and Science commencement at 2 p.m. today at Hearnes Center. As of Saturday afternoon, the college had not been able to contact Black’s family to add something to the ceremony in honor of their daughter, said Ted Tarkow, associate dean of the College of Arts and Science.

“(A) chemistry major is not the easiest way to get through college,” said John Adams, a chemistry professor at MU. “That is certainly an accomplishment. She was a very nice person, always very friendly, very sort of upbeat. As far as I could tell, she got along great with everybody.”

This accident was the third fatal accident in Columbia this month.

Arnold White, 80, of Columbia died Thursday from injuries he sustained in a May 7 accident at Stadium Boulevard and Audubon Drive.

Seth Owen, 25, and Jessica Owen, 22, died Wednesday in an accident on Interstate 70 that resulted in injuries to three other people, including their 1-year-old son, Seth.

Perkins was driving a red 1998 Jeep Cherokee in Friday’s accident, said Sgt. Timothy Moriarty of the Columbia Police Department. The SUV ran off the road, skidded along the guardrail for about 100 feet, flipped over the barrier and landed on its top near Hinkson Creek, said Moriarty.

Police are unsure what caused the accident, but witnesses said the SUV had been going very fast and the headlights had not been on, Moriarty said.

Although a broken beer bottle was found among the wreckage, police don’t know whether drunk driving played a factor because the bottle could have been unopened at the time of the wreck, Moriarty said. Police said they expect to receive toxicology reports in several weeks.

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