The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 3, 2007

Second St. Francis student involved in car accident dies

LORETTO — A traffic accident late last week in Cresson Township has claimed the life of a second St. Francis University student.

Blair County deputy coroner Paul Kerns said that Kayla Nicodemus, 18, of Bedford died at 10:05 a.m. Wednesday.

The cause of death is listed as massive head trauma, Kerns said.

Nicodemus was a freshman at St. Francis majoring in psychology, Ross Feltz, the university’s director of community affairs said.

“We sent out an e-mail to the campus at 11:50 a.m. letting everyone know,” he said.

The counseling center and campus staff, put on alert following Thursday’s accident which claimed the life of Kaylee Harford, 18, of Emporium, Cameron County, continues to be available to the students, Feltz said.

The accident occurred around 8:30 p.m. when Nicodemus, Harford and three other St. Francis freshmen women were returning to the campus after having dinner in a local restaurant.

Jessica Rivera, 18, of Frederick, Md., the driver of the 2001 Pontiac, failed to negotiate a curve on the rain slicked road and crossed into the northbound lane. The vehicle plunged down a 12-foot embankment and hit a tree broadside on the passenger side, Cresson Township Police Chief Chris Sweet said.

Harford was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another passenger Brittany Smola, 18, of Irwin was treated at Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Regional Trauma Center and released.

Rivera remained in serious condition at the Altoona hospital Wednesday and the hospital is not releasing the condition of the fifth passenger Allison Koncz, 18, of Duncansville. She was listed in critical condition last week.

Reports received by the university said that Koncz is showing signs of improvement.

The investigation into the crash, which did not involve drugs or alcohol, is continuing, Sweet said.

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