College student from Minnesota killed in crash during eclipse traffic

A Creighton University student from Rosemount, Minnesota was killed in a four-vehicle crash near Omaha, Nebraska Monday while on her way to see the total solar eclipse.

The accident took place on Interstate 80 shortly after 10 a.m. According to the Omaha Police Department, a semi-truck driver failed to notice that traffic had begun to slow down on the highway and collided with a Toyota Prius, which was carrying the four students. After colliding with Prius, the semi also collided with a Chrysler Sebring convertible, which forced the convertible into another semi-truck.

Joan Ocampo-Yambing, 19, was killed in the crash. The three other students in the Prius and two of the people in the convertible were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

Ocampo-Yambing was about to start her sophomore at Creighton studying computer science.

More than 800 students attended a prayer vigil on Monday night for Ocampo-Yambing and the three students who remain hospitalized. Her friends told local media outlets she had been on her way to Lincoln to see the eclipse. 

According to a news release from Creighton University, Ocampo-Yambing was active in campus ministry and was a Dean’s Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences. She had recently achieved her dream of having her poetry published by the time she was 20. A book of her poems, titled “Roots of a Wildflower: A Collection of Poems through the Teenage Years,” came out last week.

“Joan Ocampo-Yambing was a beautiful, gentle soul,” HollyAnn Harris, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences and an adviser to Ocampo-Yambing, said in the release. “She was quiet in a contemplative way. She spoke when she had something important to say, and others listened. She had a positive attitude and faced both good times and adversity with equal grace.”

The crash remains under investigation.