NC State student dies after Raleigh man crashes near Holly Springs, officials say

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WNCN) -- A North Carolina State University student died and two other people were critically injured in a crash in Wake County early Sunday morning, officials said.

Sunday evening, about 40 N.C. State students gathered on campus for a candlelight vigil for Cheyanne Nicole Hass, 22, a student who died in the crash.

The wreck happened around 3:52 a.m. on Penny Road near Hunters Bluff Drive near Holly Springs, according to a news release from the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Investigators said the crash happened when a Toyota Scion, driven by James Randall Thomas, 21, of Raleigh, was traveling west on Penny Road.

N.C. State's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering said Sunday evening that Thomas was also a student.

"Thomas lost control of the vehicle, traveling off the roadway to the right, striking a tree and overturning the vehicle," troopers said.

"As a result of the collision, an unrestrained rear passenger was ejected from the vehicle."

Hass, 22, of Murphy was the rear passenger in the car and died after the crash, officials said.

N.C. State officials confirmed Sunday that Hass was a senior at the university.

"On behalf of the university community, we send our deepest sympathies and prayers to the Hass family and those involved in the accident," said N.C. State spokesman Fred Hartman.

A front passenger, Mason Andrew Lanier, 21, of West Panorama, Illinois and Thomas were transported to Wake Medical Center in Raleigh and are in critical condition as of Sunday afternoon.

"Investigators are consulting with the Wake County D.A.'s office (in) reference (to) pending charges," authorities said.

Midday Monday, N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson released the following statement:

All of us in the NC State community are grieving the tragic loss of Cheyanne Hass, a bright and ambitious Electrical Engineering student who was set to graduate this coming Saturday. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this very difficult time, as well as with Mason Lanier, NC State student James Thomas and their families.

To all of our students, on behalf of NC State, I want to remind and encourage each of you to take care of yourselves, and look after each other, as you celebrate the end of the school year and graduation.

- Chancellor Randy Woodson

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