NC State vigil remembers engineering student killed in crash

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – N.C. State faculty and students remembered a student killed in a weekend traffic collision with a vigil Monday night.

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Cheyanne Hass, 22, died early Sunday after a crash near Holly Springs.

She was set to graduate in a ceremony Friday from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

“When it’s someone in your classes and in your department, it just hits a little closer to home. We’re all just very sad that this would happen, especially so close to graduation,” said Greg Byrd, associate department head.

Starting around 7:30 p.m. Monday, about 100 students and faculty members gathered to remember Hass, who was from Murphy in Western North Carolina.

Her brother is also a student at N.C. State.

“She is someone that will be greatly missed,” said Fatima Fatajo.

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Fatajo says without Hass’s help over the last few years in class she doesn’t know where she would have been.

“She was someone I could do homework with, someone who can help me when I’m getting lost. Overall, if you ask anyone who knew her. You would know what a beautiful young lady she is. She had such a future ahead of her,” said Fatajo.

The family’s pastor told CBS North Carolina the family is asking for privacy during this difficult time.

The wreck happened around 3:52 a.m. on Penny Road near Hunters Bluff Drive near Holly Springs, according to a news release from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Investigators said the crash happened when a Toyota Scion, driven by James Randall Thomas, 21, of Raleigh was traveling west on Penny Road.

Troopers said he lost control of the vehicle, which ran off the road and hit a tree, then flipped.

N.C. State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering said Sunday evening Thomas was also a student.

He is in critical condition, according to the State Highway Patrol.

Troopers said investigators are talking with the Wake County District Attorney’s office on pending charges.

They said alcohol and speed were factors in the crash.

“It’s sort of like a shock wave. It first hit us yesterday, and it’s going through everybody,” said Talha Agcayazi, a second-year Ph.D. student at N.C. State who said he met Hass earlier this year.

“Very cheerful. Upbeat. Very hardworking,” he said.

Agcayazi said they met weekly working on a project together.

“It was very shocking. I remembered the times we encountered during the meetings, when we shared thoughts on the project. I remembered just how successful she was and her future and just the dreams of somebody,” he said.

Friends said she had a scholarship to attend graduate school at Duke University. They said she planned to earn a Ph.D.

“She had a lot of potential. A lot of promise. Looking forward to graduate school and changing the world,” Byrd said.

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