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Sunday, July 03, 2022

UW-Madison graduate student killed in potential drunk driving crash

A car possibly driven by a drunk driver barreled into pedestrians on Park Street Saturday night, killing a UW-Madison graduate student and injuring two other people.

Wenxin Huai, a 24-year-old student, was taken to the hospital with critical injuries after being struck by the vehicle on the 400 block of South Park Street at 7:38 p.m., according to a Madison Police Department incident report. She died later that night.

Huai was standing on the sidewalk when she was hit by the vehicle, police said.

UW-Madison Dean of Students Lori Berquam said in a press release the university administration was "deeply saddened" to hear of Huai's death.

"Our thoughts are with her family and friends," Berquam said. "She was due to receive her master's degree in economics next month, which makes her loss especially painful."

The driver of the car was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver is now in police custody under suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the report.

The two other pedestrians were treated at the scene for non-life threatening injuries.

Huai, originally from Beijing, was a graduate of Peking University and worked part-time on UW's campus for the Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory, according a university release.

Ananth Seshadri, chairman of UW-Madison's Department of Economics, said the department is "heartbroken by the tragic loss."

“Wenxin was a gracious and thoughtful member of our economics community," Seshadri said. "She was polite, eager to learn and extraordinarily kind."

Brianna Cacchione, UW-Madison's assistant director of International Student Services, said Huai had a "bright future."

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“I recently met with Wenxin, and she excitedly discussed her travel plans to Puerto Rico or possibly Canada to celebrate her graduation and remarkable achievements at UW–Madison,” Cacchione said. “She was hopeful."

UPDATE Apr. 17 12:35 p.m.: This article was updated to include additional information.

UPDATE Apr. 17 3:46 p.m.: This article was updated to include additional information.

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