The college experience is one that simply cannot be replicated. For many young adults, it is a time to discover their identity, and to learn about what impassions them. During the four year span, a college student may be exposed to a wide variety of cultures and opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. Playing collegiate sports, joining special interest groups, and taking thought-provoking courses are all valuable parts of the college experience.
Many colleges and universities in the U.S. offer religious courses and allow students to go on faith-based missions. For semester credit, students can perform a variety of services to the indigent living throughout the country and throughout the world. While these are admirable and exciting opportunities for young adults, they are not free from risk. Mission work often requires a significant amount of traveling to get from the school to the final destination. Thus, many students are exposed to the risks of transportation, such as major car accidents and truck accidents.
On Saturday, March 7, 2015, the students and faculty at Harding University in Arkansas realized how serious this problem is. That day, 21-year-old Nicholas Smith was driving with two classmates from the University to Syracuse, New York for a mission trip. They were headed to the Wetzel Road Church of Christ for a spring internship, which would involve volunteering in the Syracuse community.
That Saturday morning, the three young men were in Smith’s car driving northbound on Interstate 71 near Louisville, Kentucky. It was around 1:15 am when their car was passing between two large trailer trucks. According to THV 11, one of the massive trucks suddenly started turning into the middle lane. Smith’s car had nowhere to go. It was crushed between the two semis.
Tragically, Smith died of his injuries shortly after the truck crash. One passenger was airlifted to a Louisville hospital where he underwent surgery and is now in recovery. The third student was treated at the same hospital and was released.
In the wake of Smith’s untimely death, the Harding University campus has entered a state of mourning. A memorial has been set up on the campus grounds in his honor.