Early morning on Feb. 23 four Valparaiso University sophomores were involved in a fatal car accident on I-65 in Gary, Ind.

Student Samantha Salvador, 20, of Hoffman Estates, Ill, was pronounced dead at Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary. Salvador was a passenger along with two other unidentified students who were transported to an Indianapolis hospital and Loyola Medical Center for severe injuries, they remain in critical condition. The driver of the car, Rose Kacher, 19, was not seriously injured.

The students, all nursing majors, were on their way to a morning clinical when Kacher, attempting to turn left onto U.S. 20 mistakenly drove into a left-turn lane for a local business. The vehicle became airborne after colliding with a raised concrete median, ultimately striking a beige Chevrolet Malibu. The driver, a 26-year-old resident of Chicago Heights, Ill. suffered non-life threatening injuries, there were no other passengers.

Valparaiso University lost a valued member of its community, Samantha Salvador, a sophomore nursing student who touched the lives of many,” said university spokesperson Nicole Niemi in a statement. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to Samantha’s family and friends, and we ask for the public and media to respect their privacy during this time of mourning.”

Salvador was a member of the Alpha Lambda chapter of the Chi Omega fraternity on campus, was president-elect of the Student Nurses Association and an overnight visit host in the undergraduate admission office. University students, faculty, staff and alumni were notified shortly after her passing.

Details regarding a remembrance on campus are incomplete at this time. As soon as more information is available, another announcement will follow,” said President Mark A. Heckler in a university-wide email. “On behalf of the entire Valpo community, I extend my deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to Samantha's family, friends, and all those who loved her. We mourn with them during this time of tragedy.”

At this time, Salvador’s family is requesting that no formal memorial services or activities are organized by the university or the extracurricular groups she was involved with. The university will plan memorial services on campus after more details have been announced.

This is a developing story. The Torch will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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