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Incoming student dies in traffic accident

| Saturday, July 4, 2015

Rebecca Draper Townsend, a member of the incoming class of 2019, died Thursday after being struck by a car during a local Fourth of July celebration, according to a University spokesperson.

Townsend, a native of Brookfield, Connecticut, and a friend were hit just after the beginning of a fireworks show. There were no crosswalks available in the area of the accident, and police have not determined if they were crossing the road at the time, according to WFSB, a local television station.

Townsend and her friend were transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short while later. Her friend is in serious but stable condition, police said.

Townsend graduated last month with honors from Immaculate High School in Danbury, Connecticut, according to her obituary. News of her death quickly spread to the class of 2019’s Facebook page, where a memorial post appeared at 9 a.m.

“Father Jenkins has offered his deepest condolences on behalf of the University to Rebecca’s family, several of whom have graduated from Notre Dame,” vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffman Harding said in an email. “Please keep Rebecca and her family in your prayers, and know that each of you are also in our prayers as we prepare for the start of a new academic year next month.”

Townsend will be commemorated at the welcome mass for new students in late August, the email said.

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