Santa Fe College grad identified as I-75 crash victim

Aerial view of Interstate 75 in Gainesville, Fla. where according to Florida Highway Patrol at least 10 people have died as a result of multiple crashes Sunday January 29, 2012 involving 4 commercial vehicles and at least 10 passenger vehicles. The majority of the accidents happened in an area adjacent to where a brush fire was burning and producing heavy smoke.

Rob C. Witzel/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 12:35 p.m.

A Florida Highway Patrol official has identified 27-year-old Christie Diana Nguyen, a graduate of the University of Florida and Santa Fe College, as a victim in the deadly series of crashes on Interstate 75 Sunday.

Alora Haynes, fine arts department chair at Santa Fe College, said Tuesday she was stunned when she heard the news.

“We were a dance family,” she said. “Even though she graduated and went on to the University of Florida in business, she always danced with us because it was her home.”

Nguyen graduated in 2010 from UF with a bachelor's degree in Asian studies. She had graduated from Santa Fe but was enrolled in an online course at the college this semester to stay involved with the dance program.

A memorial service is being planned for Saturday, Santa Fe officials said.

Nguyen was starting to get her academic work on progress recently, she added.

The extent of the tragedy on the interstate is far-reaching, Haynes said. “I think everybody knows somebody (involved in the crash) at this point,” she said.

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