Thirteen people were injured in the crash, which occurred at 7:28 a.m. in Vero Beach; three were initially trapped inside the van with serious injuries, Currey said in a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The first officer on the scene climbed into the vehicle to free them and provide emergency medical care. Some passengers were in serious but stable condition at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center, with some treated and released.
“It is with great sadness that we share with you that Grace Rett ’22, a resident of Healy, has passed away following this morning’s accident involving the women’s rowing team,” the school said in an email to students, according to the Boston Herald. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Grace’s family, friends and teammates at this time.”
Rett in December set the world record for longest continual indoor row, operating a rowing machine at Holy Cross’s Luth Athletic Complex for 62 hours 3 seconds. She was required to row for 50 minutes of each hour and could not sleep during pauses, according to the Worchester Telegram. A 2018 graduate of Marianapolis Prep in Thompson, Conn., Rett played basketball in the winter and rowed in the spring and fall. Marianapolis crew coach Sean Murphy called her “the strongest girls’ rower we have ever had at Marianapolis.”
Rett was a tour guide for prospective students at Holy Cross, which she called her “dream school,” and helped broadcast the school’s sporting events, according to her LinkedIn page.
The team was traveling in two vans on the way to practice at Alex MacWilliams Park, a popular boat ramp and recreational rowing destination on the east side of the bridge, according to emergency officials. Rett was in the front passenger seat in the first van when it collided with a red Dodge pickup truck at Barber Bridge and Indian River Boulevard. The front passenger seat absorbed the worst of the crash. Currey said Rett appeared to be wearing her seat belt.
The van, carrying 12 people, was traveling southbound on Indian River Boulevard and attempted to make a left turn onto the bridge, Currey said. Both lanes of traffic had green lights, requiring vehicles turning east onto the bridge to yield to northbound traffic.
The Vero Beach Fire Department said three people were transported to emergency facilities by helicopter. Four people were taken by ambulance and four others were transported as a precaution.
None of the passengers in the second van were harmed.
“Obviously they’re not doing well,” Currey said, “but physically, they’re doing much better.”
Holy Cross said in a statement on the school’s website that it was in contact with authorities in Florida and was gathering more information about the fatal collision.
“Holy Cross has been in touch with the families of those students and coaches and is offering support for all those involved,” the statement said. “We ask that you keep all those involved and their families in your prayers at this time. For those needing to talk to someone, the Office of College Chaplains and the Counseling Center are both open today.”
Holy Cross, in Worcester, Mass., also announced that a Wednesday night men’s basketball game against Army had been postponed in light of the accident.
Brian Colgan, rowing director at the Vero Beach Rowing Club, told the Boston Globe that the team had arrived in Florida Monday night for training at the club.
This is a developing story and will be updated.