Rockbridge fatal

State Police photo

A Washington and Lee student was killed overnight and several other students were injured when an SUV left a Rockbridge County roadway, hit a tree stump and overturned.  21-year-old Kelsey Durkin was a senior from New Canaan, Connecticut. State Police say the driver is charged with DUI. He is identified as 21-year-old Nicholas Hansel of New Orleans. The university says 10 students in all were inside the vehicle.

(Continue reading for the full Washington and Lee University statement and State Police news release.)

FROM: President Kenneth P. Ruscio
DATE: Dec. 3, 2013

Our hearts go out to the family of Kelsey Durkin and her many friends on this campus.  Kelsey, a senior from New Canaan, Connecticut, was the student who died in the accident early this morning.

There are no words to express the grief we feel over the loss of someone taken from us so suddenly and tragically. In the days ahead, in the weeks and months ahead, our sadness will be lessened only by the memories of her time with us.

This is a community of compassion and caring friendships. That makes the sadness we feel deep and genuine.  But this is also a community of strength and support for one another, and we need now more than ever to call upon that most precious quality. I don’t need to remind you to be there for one another, to draw support from our ability to care for each other, to keep the Durkin family especially in your thoughts and prayers, and to be there for them.

We will continue to provide information and updates, including plans for a memorial service for Kelsey, as they become available.

We also are in touch with the families of the other students who were injured and will let you know of their conditions, as we are able to.


The Virginia State Police are continuing their investigation into a fatal crash that occurred this morning around 1:30 am on Turkey Hill Road near Bethany Road in Rockbridge County. The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe was traveling southbound on Turkey Hill Road when the vehicle run off the left side of the roadway hit a tree stump before overturning. The driver of the Tahoe Nicholas Perry Hansel, age 21, of New Orleans, La. was transported to Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital for minor injuries he sustained in the crash. Hansel was treated and then arrested and charged with DUI and Refusal and is currently being held in the Rockbridge County jail.
A rear seat passenger Kelsey H. Durkin, age 21, of New Canaan, Ct. was transported to Stonewall Jackson Hospital by private vehicle and pronounced dead on arrival. Durkin was not wearing a safety belt at the time of the crash and was ejected from the vehicle.
 Two other students were airlifted to the Universtiy of Virginia Medical Center and one was airlifted to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. In addition three other students were treated for their injuries at Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hosptial and two students refused treatment.

The names of the injuried students is not available at this time.


Also no further information is available regarding the crash at this time and the investigation remains ongoing.