N.C. State student mourned at home after tragedy
Raleigh – A Hiwassee Dam native set to graduate from N.C. State University later this week died tragically in a car crash Sunday morning.
Cheyanne Hass, 22, was traveling with two other students when the driver lost control of the vehicle and crash into a tree near Holly Spring around 3:52 am. Sunday, according to the N.C. Highway Patrol.
Hass was in the back seat and was not wearing a seat belt.
Her stepmother, Maria Hass, said the family’s hearts are broken.
“Cheyenne was an amazing, bright and beautiful young woman. She knew where she was going in life and what it would take to get there,” Maria said.
“Our hearts are grieving, and our lives are changed forever. While a piece of our hearts are now missing, we find solace and comfort in the Lord. We know where she is, and that we will see her again. That is our peace.”
Around 40 students gathered for a candlelight vigil on campus to mourn Hass, who was scheduled to graduate Friday with a degree in electrical engineering.
James Randall Thomas, 21, was driving and is expected to face charges when he is released from the hospital, as alcohol and speed were factors in the crash, according to WRAL.com in Raleigh.
“All of us in the N.C. State community are grieving the tragic loss of Cheyanne Hass, a bright and ambitious student who was set to graduate this coming Saturday,” N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson said in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this very difficult time.”
Cheyanne was scheduled to attend Duke in the fall to pursue a doctorate in biomedical engineering, while also working on her master’s degree.
Marshall Brain, director of N.C. State’s Engineering Entrepreneurs Program, told WRAL.com that Cheyanne spent the last few months developing a new technology for first responders.
“Our senior design project was something she came up with the idea for. It was a device for first responders to help monitor people’s vital signs, so she wanted so badly to help people. That was her whole issue,” classmate Maria Sable told WRAL.com. “I’m just going to miss all the changes she could have made in the world.”
“There’s no question she could have helped thousands or millions of people, and we just, humanity lost that,” Brain told WRAL.com.
Cheyenne is the daughter of Eric Hass of Hiwassee Dam and Dana Stone of Jasper, Ga. Cheyanne’s aunt, Gina Willaford, said on Facebook that her niece was “brilliant, precious, over-the-top ambitious, accomplished, hilarious, compassionate and amazing.”
“You have made me proud since the day you were born. The world isn’t as bright anymore, and I’m not sure how to even move forward from this,” Willaford wrote.
Taylor Bello, a Murphy High School graduate and Raleigh resident, put down flowers for her friend Monday.
“You are so loved, beautiful girl,” Bello wrote on Facebook. “And everyone who knew you will carry your wonderful smile in our hearts. Be at peace, gorgeous, I love you.”