Volume 95, Issue 80
Wednesday, March 6, 2002
No charges in fatal accident
Driver cleared in crash that claimed student
By Joel Brown
No charges will be laid in connection with an accident near Essex Hall that claimed the life of a Western student shortly before reading week.
Dong Han, a 31-year-old computer science masters student, was riding his bicycle when he collided with a vehicle at the crossing of Sarnia and Western roads just after 8 p.m. on the evening of Feb. 21. He was transported to University Hospital where he died of serious injuries early the next morning.
At the time of the accident, Han was riding on Western Road, towards the university, while the car was travelling on Sarnia Road in the direction of TD Waterhouse stadium. He was hit at a crosswalk when the driver of the car drove through a yellow light.
No charges will be laid against the driver. According to police, Han was not wearing a helmet and his bicycle did not have reflectors.
According to Gazette Sports Editor Ryan Dixon, who was eating in a Subway restaurant near the intersection at the time of the accident, two males ran inside the restaurant asking for towels and bandages to assist the victim.
Shortly thereafter, police and ambulances arrived and the roads were then closed for several hours while the London Police conducted their investigation.
Han, who is survived by his wife of six years Lijian Xu, was a landed immigrant from China who had lived in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for two years before coming to Western last fall to work on his graduate degree.
Fei Peng, a friend who mourned alongside Han's wife and brother-in-law at the couple's Platts Lane residence, said the loss had caused them "great shock and sadness.
"He's a really great, kind, helpful generous person. A really nice person," Peng said.
Western's computer science department set up a website to honour Han's memory (www.csd.uwo.ca/dong_han.html).
"Everyone who knows Dong will remember that he was a very helpful and humorous person," said Han's mentor, professor Charles Ling, on the website. "He also worked very hard and had made great progress in his Msc [sic] thesis."
"It is quite unbelievable that only yesterday his light-heartedness was so apparent," wrote fellow teaching assistant Merv Black.
"It's very obvious when you look at the outpouring of feeling in the spontaneous comments and memories of the department that Dong Han will be very much missed," said Stephen Watt, chair of computer sciences.
Copyright © The Gazette 2002