University in mourning

Matt Peters

Car accident kills three students, injures another

Neil Zbuckvich, junior sports management major, and fellow members of Sigma Phi Epsilon stand in front of the painted rock in memory of their two fallen brothers. The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity held a quiet, late-afternoon vigil Friday.

Credit: Matt Peters

A car accident left three Kent State students dead and one in the hospital Thursday. The accident occurred about 30 miles from Kent in Smith Township near Alliance.

Megan Daum, 19, of Marysville, is the lone survivor of the crash. She was lifeflighted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown. She was in critical condition in the intensive care unit Friday, but as of yesterday afternoon she was in rehab at the hospital.

Daum, along with fellow freshmen Brandon Butler, Eric Citino and Chelsea Lausberg were driving back from a West Branch High School wrestling match. They went to watch Citino’s younger brother, who is a wrestler for West Branch.

Citino was driving eastbound on Beloit Snodes Road when he ran a stop sign at the state Route 14 intersection at about 9:11 p.m., according to the Canfield State Highway Patrol. The car collided with a Ford pickup truck driven by Michael Nelson. The 41-year-old of Salem was not harmed in the accident.

According to the Canfield State Highway Patrol, no alcohol was involved in the accident. Citino and Lausberg were wearing their seatbelts while Daum and Bulter were not.

“We hope that during this very difficult time, you will find comfort in knowing that so many are keeping you in their thoughts and prayers,” President Carol Cartwright said in an e-mail statement Friday.

The Kent State community has had to deal with the deaths of four students this semester. Senior Kent State student Sarah Positano was held hostage and allegedly killed by James Trimble at her Brimfield home last month.

“It’s been a very bad couple of weeks for the whole community, and I think the whole community is going to feel it,” university spokesman Ron Kirksey said. “That’s going to magnify the impact when they happen together.”

Kirksey said counseling would be made available to students through the residences halls and through the colleges and the activities in which the students participated.

Services for Bulter, Citino and Lausberg are planned for today:

n Butler’s funeral is being held in Barnesville at 11 a.m. today. Kelly-Kemp-Braido Funeral Home is located at 702 E. Main St.

n Citino’s wake is at 7:30 p.m. today at the First Presbyterian Church of Salem in Salem. The church is located at 436 E. Second St. No funeral information was available at deadline.

n Lausberg’s funeral will be held in Saxonburg, Pa. It will be conducted at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church at 10 a.m. The church is located at 410 W. Main St.

Remembering Butler, Citino and Lausberg

Butler and Citino were both members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity since the fall. A group of about 25 members of Sigma Phi Epsilon gathered around the rock on front campus and painted the fraternity’s colors on the rock as well as the their fallen brothers names Friday afternoon.

By Friday night, Sigma Phi Epsilon had received several arrangements of flowers from the university and other Greek organizations.

Sigma Phi Epsilon President Ryan Teitz said the fraternity appreciated the support given from the university.

Thomas DiNardo, staff psychologist with University Health Services, also offered help for anyone in the fraternity who needed it.

All three students were memorialized with a moment of silence before the Kent State men’s basketball team’s game against Northern

Illinois yesterday.

Lausberg was a freshman cheerleader for Kent State. The cheerleaders and dance team wore ribbons during the game in her memory.

Contact public affairs reporter Matt Peters at [email protected].