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Retreat-Bound Students Hurt In N.H. Crash

Five injured after car spins out of control on icy road and hits truck

By Daniel P. Mosteller and Elisabeth S. Theodore, Crimson Staff Writerss

One student remains in serious condition and a second is under observation after surgery, following a car crash that injured five members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) late Friday afternoon.

The students were on their way to a group retreat Friday when their car spun on an icy New Hampshire highway and crashed into a tractor-trailer truck.

Melissa Chu ’02, a resident of Eliot House and the most seriously hurt in the crash, was upgraded to serious condition at Boston Medical Center over the weekend after having been initially listed in critical condition, a hospital administrator said yesterday afternoon. The hospital declined to release more detailed information on Chu’s injuries.

Eliot House Master Lino Pertile said the House community was waiting anxiously for news of Chu’s condition.

“We are very concerned about Melissa—the whole House is,” he said. “We hope that she will recover soon.”

Jennifer Y. Cho ’01-02, a resident of Adams House, suffered a liver injury and underwent surgery for a laceration on her head Friday night, said Faith Chyou ’03, another crash victim who sustained only minor injuries and went to visit Cho over the weekend.

She said Cho was in “good spirits” and would be released from Portsmouth (N.H.) Regional Hospital in the next week. A nursing administrator at the hospital declined to comment on Cho’s condition.

The three other crash victims—Chyou of Adams House, Lee S. Chung ’04 of Mather House and Jerry Y. Lee ’04 of Winthrop House—were transported to Exeter (N.H.) Hospital on Friday night with less serious injuries.

Chyou and Lee were released from the hospital Friday evening, and Chung was released over the weekend.

Chyou said she suffered a broken knuckle and wrist as well as a minor cut on the head. Chung suffered a fractured hip and Lee sustained a sprained ankle, said Jimmy Quach ’98, an advisor for AACF.

The accident occurred Friday at 4:23 p.m. on northbound Interstate 95 in Hampton Falls, N.H.—just over the state line from Massachusetts—according to New Hampshire State Police Trooper Dan Nedham.

After the car carrying the Harvard students spun on ice, the tractor-trailer truck made an attempt to avoid the car, but to no avail.

According to Nedham, all the victims were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.

Chyou, who was driving the car, attributed the crash to the icy roads but said she did not know exactly what had caused her to lose control of the vehicle.

Icy roads contributed to several accidents Friday, though this was the most serious on Interstate 95 that afternoon, Nedham said.

The five victims, members of the AACF music team, were traveling to the organization’s winter retreat at Camp Maranatha in New Durham, N.H., and had left Cambridge early to set up for the conference.

The rest of the group’s members traveled by bus and arrived safely at the conference site. After being released from the hospital Friday night, Chyou and Lee were driven to the retreat and joined the rest of the AACF contingent.

“Everybody was really supportive and loving,” Chyou said. “There were a lot of tears.”

The retreat’s Friday night speaker was canceled and replaced by a prayer session for the accident victims, but other speaking sessions went on as scheduled, Chyou said.

She said “people are still praying” for the recovery of Chu and Cho and that a group of AACF members would likely visit Chu in the next few days.

—Andrew S. Holbrook and Claire A. Pasternack contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Daniel P. Mosteller can be reached at dmostell@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Elisabeth S. Theodore can be reached at theodore@fas.harvard.edu.

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