Accident results in death of H-SC student

Published 3:30 pm Friday, February 22, 2019

A single-vehicle accident in Farmville early Friday morning led to the death of a Hampden-Sydney College (H-SC) student.

“There was an accident last night on Abilene Road that did involve Hampden-Sydney students and did have one fatality,” Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department Chief L.W. Gilliam said Friday afternoon.

He cited that four people had been in the vehicle, and H-SC Director of Communications Gordon Neal confirmed that all four individuals involved in the accident were Hampden-Sydney students.

VSP Public Relations Director Corinne N. Geller noted in a Monday press release that Alexander M. Byrne, 22, of Williamsburg, died at the scene. He was a senior.

She said the driver of the vehicle, senior Tristan W. Goering, 21, of Williamsburg, was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The other two passengers, both 21-year-old males, were also transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, Geller said.

The Herald has learned that these other two passengers were seniors Robert D. Munn and Shay A. Wood.

In Monday’s release Geller said that the accident occurred “on Route 665/Abilene Road less than a mile east of Route 604/Darlington Heights Road.”

“A 2009 Audi A4 was traveling west on Route 665 when it ran off the right side of the highway as it came into a curve,” she said. “The vehicle struck the ditch and then a tree before catching fire.”

The fire department was notified of the incident at 12:42 a.m., Gilliam said, adding that the department and Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad were the first agencies to respond.

“Our engine was on scene within five minutes of the call, and we showed up to a fully involved car fire,” he said.

Gilliam stated that the fire was put out quickly.

He said four people had been in the vehicle, and three of them were transported to Centra Southside Community Hospital for treatment.

“But then later on in the night, they were transferred to Richmond,” he said.

Geller stated that neither Goering nor Byrne were wearing seat belts.

“The crash remains under investigation,” she said at the conclusion of the release. “Charges are pending.”

Neal’s confirmation of the H-SC connection Friday afternoon included a statement expressing the reaction of the Hampden-Sydney community.

“I can confirm that four students were involved in a car accident off-campus, and sadly, one of the students passed away,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the student who passed away, as well as the other students, who remain hospitalized. We have shared with our students and the campus community that counseling services are available to all who are struggling with this tragedy. Losing a member of our community is absolutely heartbreaking, and we must all support each other in this time of grief.”

Following a Saturday evening request for further information, Neal responded and said that “out of respect for those involved and their families, we will not be commenting further at this time.”