UW community mourns loss of student killed in weekend crash; motorist charged

April 17, 2017 By Doug Erickson

A UW–Madison graduate student who died Saturday after being struck by a vehicle near campus is being remembered as a stellar student and a cherished classmate and friend.

Wenxin “Wendy” Huai, 24, of Beijing, had been part of the campus community since 2015. She was to receive her master’s degree in economics next month.

“We are heartbroken by this tragic loss,” said Ananth Seshadri, chairman of the Department of Economics. “Wenxin was a gracious and thoughtful member of our economics community. She was polite, eager to learn and extraordinarily kind. The department joins me in expressing our deepest condolences to her family and friends who have been so tragically affected.”

Wenxin Huai

Wenxin Huai

According to the Madison Police Department, Huai was struck by a sport utility vehicle while walking with friends on a sidewalk about 7:40 p.m. April 15 on the 400 block of South Park Street near West Washington Avenue. She was transported to a hospital but did not survive her injuries. Two other pedestrians were treated at the scene.

The driver, who was seriously injured, has been charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and other charges.

Huai will be deeply missed, said Brianna Cacchione, assistant director of International Student Services.

“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 and had a bright future. I am deeply saddened to hear about her passing.  Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and loved ones.”

A graduate of Peking University, Huai worked part-time on campus as a research assistant in the Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory.

“She was hardworking and so nice, very much a team player,” said Yang Cheng, a TOPS assistant researcher. Huai assisted with data processing and software modeling and was highly valued for her expertise in statistics, he said.

A support gathering organized by International Student Services will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at the campus Multicultural Student Center on the second floor of the Red Gym, 716 Langdon St. University Health Services staff will be present.

Students in need of support may contact UHS at (608) 265-5600 option 9, and International Student Services, (608) 262-2044.