2 patients remain at hospital following deadly Jan. 15 crash


VERO BEACH —More patients involved in a deadly two-vehicle wreck last week that killed 20-year-old rower Grace Rett have been released from a trauma center, a hospital official said.

As of Tuesday night, six people total had been released from Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce since the Jan. 15 crash, the hospital’s Director of Public Relations Tiffany Woods said. Among those released was College of the Holy Cross sophomore Hannah Strom.

She was airlifted from Lawnwood to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to continue treatment for her injuries, school officials said.

Two unidentified patients remain at the trauma center in Fort Pierce, Woods said. One of the patients was last listed in serious condition while the other was listed in good condition, Woods said.

The Holy Cross Crusaders women’s rowing team were in town from Massachusetts for winter training. The team from College of the Holy Cross was headed to practice with Vero Beach Rowing Club on the Indian River Lagoon the day of the horrific wreck.

The crash – involving the silver van carrying the rowing team and a red Dodge pickup – happened at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 15 at the base of the Merrill P. Barber Bridge. The southbound van made a left turn in front of the northbound pickup at the west end of the bridge, Vero Beach police said.

The pickup – whose driver has not been identified – struck the van on its right side, leaving both vehicles with heavy damage. Rett, of Uxbrige, Massachusetts, was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

Emergency responders transported eight other people to the trauma center in Fort Pierce with serious injuries. The injured included the rowing team members, a coach who was driving the van and the pickup driver, police said.

Police shut down the lanes on the bridge and Indian River Boulevard for several hours to investigate the collision. One day after the crash, senior Maegan Morairty was released from the hospital, school officials said.

Saturday, junior Paige Cohen was released.

Aside from Strom, two unidentified people were released from the trauma center Monday, Woods said. One more person, also unidentified, was released Tuesday.

Impact on the community

The deadly crash prompted an outpouring of grief in Vero and at the college, along with financial support from a fundraiser.

Friday, police wrapped purple ribbons around the light poles near the west end of the bridge to show respect for the victims in the crash. A vigil following the incident was held Sunday at a pavilion near Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary.

The college’s men’s rowing team set up a GoFundMe fundraising page the day of the crash. By Tuesday evening, the page had more than $250,000 in donations.

The funds will go toward medical bills for the injured and Rett’s funeral expenses, officials said. A mass celebrating Rett’s life was scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary’s Church, 77 Mendon Street, Uxbridge.

Police continue to investigate the deadly crash. No charges have been filed.




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