University students remember those who have passed

A vigil was held for Jennifer Britton at Gregory Hall on Wednesday. Britton died in the hospital after her car struck a deer on I-57 Sunday. Amelia Moore

A vigil was held for Jennifer Britton at Gregory Hall on Wednesday. Britton died in the hospital after her car struck a deer on I-57 Sunday. Amelia Moore

By Alyssa Etier

Students gathered Wednesday night for a ceremony in memory of Jennifer Britton, senior in LAS, who was killed Sunday night as the result of a car accident on I-57.

“It’s really hard,” said Markea Haywood, senior in ACES and a friend of Britton. “She was such a beautiful person … She was like an angel on earth.”

Chad Barnes, senior in LAS, was driving south when his car hit a deer at 6:34 p.m., causing a four car accident two miles south of Buckley, Ill., according to the Illinois State Police located in Ashcombe. Britton sat in the backseat, and Lindsey Travis, senior in LAS, was in the passenger seat.

The three students were taken to Carle Foundation Hospital, 611 W. Park St. Britton was pronounced dead at 8 p.m. that night, said Alisha Betka, a house officer at Carle Foundation Hospital.

Betka said Barnes had been in good condition and was released Tuesday. Travis also was treated at Carle and released that night. She broke her nose in the accident and is to have surgery on Friday.

“Physically, they’re still hurt, but it seems like Chad is doing pretty good, and Lindsey is in good spirits,” said Marcus Johnson, senior in ACES and friend of the students.

Britton, a Chicago native, was a political science major who hoped to become a lawyer. She turned 21 on Oct. 13.

For a memorial at 8:30 p.m., friends of Britton filled the first floor of Gregory Hall, where they met for a procession to the steps of Foellinger Auditorium. Friends gathered in silence, facing three people in front of them, one holding a red candle. A high school friend sung an a capella version of “His Eyes on the Sparrow” to break the silence. At the end of the song, everyone held hands for prayer.

The group proceeded back into Gregory Hall and entered room 112, where “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” by Bill Withers played in the background.

“We’re here to celebrate Jennifer’s life and to remember it,” said Rachel Mercer, senior in ALS and emcee for the memorial.

Kim Matthews, a friend of Britton’s, read a biography, telling the people around her “she will forever be in our hearts.”

Another friend read a poem she wrote for Britton, and later a slideshow of pictures was shown.

“People have their different ways of coping,” Haywood said. “Hopefully this will be an outlet.”

Amelia Moore The Daily Illini

A vigil was held for Jennifer Britton at Gregory Hall on Wednesday. Britton died in the hospital after her car struck a deer on I-57 Sunday.