Junior Killed in Car Crash

Friends mourn death of Eliot resident, biochem major Hui Wang

Hui Wang ’08, an avid hiker, biochemical sciences concentrator, and resident of Eliot House, died in a car crash in New York state’s Catskill Mountains Saturday afternoon.

Wang, 22, of Guangzhou, China, was a member of the Outing Club and the Harvard Table Tennis Club, and a longtime volunteer with PBHA’s Chinatown ESL program.

Friends are reeling from the loss.

“I found him to be one of the most sincere and candid people I’ve known,” said Yiming Wang ’08, Hui’s sophomore year roommate, in an e-mail.

“I’ve thought of him somewhat as an older brother, as he was several years older, and he always gave me advice about academics and about life. I will miss him greatly,” wrote Yiming Wang, who is not related to Hui.

“Hui always enjoyed intellectual conversations,” said Slobodan Radoman ’07, who went to high school at Atlantic College in Wales with Wang. “He was a hard-working guy, but would do things because he liked them, not so that they could go on a resume.”

Dongbo Yu ’07 said that his friend Wang was heading to New York this weekend on a hiking trip. In an e-mail, Yu described Wang as “warm, kind, patient, frank, uniquely humorous, and extremely personable.”

“He deals with difficulties in life with remarkable optimism and poise, and almost always with smile and success. (This is very gross generalization, and I am doing him a big injustice by glossing over all the little fine qualities Hui possesses, which combine to generate joyful spirits in every companion.)”

Jin Zhou ’07 wrote in an e-mail that Wang “offers help wherever he can to whoever in need even though he doesn’t know that person well.”

DETAILS OF THE ACCIDENT

Wang was one of three killed in a two-car crash near Olive, N.Y., according to the New York State Police. He was riding in a westbound Mazda, driven by a friend, when it swerved into the eastbound lane of Route 28. The Mazda then collided head-on with another car, driven by Catherine Whitelaw, 67, of Lanesville, N.Y., according to police.

Two passengers in the Mazda died immediately, and the other three were airlifted to area hospitals. One passenger died at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, N.Y.

Along with Wang, New York City residents Yuan Li, 26, and his girlfriend, Zhenying Gu, 26, died in the accident, which occurred at 1:20 p.m. The driver, Yanming Fang, 28, and another passenger, Harvard alum Wentao Mo ’05, 25, both of New York City, were taken to Albany Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, according to a statement from the State Police.

The driver of the eastbound car, and her passenger, Florence Palmer, 88, of Lanesville, N.Y. were transported to Benedictine Hospital in stable condition.

In a phone interview, a New York State police officer in Kingston, who refused to give his name, said the case is “still pending investigation at this time.”

The local newspaper, the Kingston Daily Freeman, quoted State Police Captain Patrick Regan as saying there was “absolutely no indication of drugs or alcohol.”

The Chinese Consulate-General in New York has contacted Wang’s family in China. In an e-mail to Eliot House residents, Co-Masters Anna Bensted and Lino Pertile wrote, “a memorial service will be arranged as soon as possible in consultation with his family.” A gathering of Wang’s friends will be held tonight at the Eliot Master’s House at 8:30 p.m. In addition, the Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association is meeting with the director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, S. Allen Counter, this week to plan a campus-wide memorial.