EXTRA, 14-MAR-00

Update on funeral arrangements

Student dies in highway accident
Two other students seriously injured in wreck on way back from debate tournament

Complete coverage will appear in Friday's Thresher.

courtesy baker college
Baker freshman Dan Henning died in an accident Monday night.

Baker College freshman Dan Henning died last night when a van carrying members of the debate team was hit from behind by a pickup truck north of Houston on Interstate 45. Henning was 18.

Two other students were seriously injured and taken by helicopter to Hermann Memorial Hospital. The students, Hanszen College sophomore Brook Ames and Lovett College senior Michael Erfe, are both in fair condition at the hospital.

Members of the George R. Brown Forensics Society were returning to Rice in two rented vans after they competed in the National Parliamentary Debate Association Championships in Omaha, Neb., on Sunday.

Five passengers suffered less serious injuries, and six other students in the vans were not injured.

The university has notified the families of everyone involved in the accident.

The vans slowed to a stop in traffic while traveling southbound on Interstate 45 just before the intersection with Hardy Toll Road north of Houston. Due to the construction, the freeway was closed down to one lane southbound.

According to Harris County Sheriff's Office reports, at 10:35 p.m. a pickup truck towing a trailer locked its brakes and was unable to stop before striking one of the Rice vans, driven by assistant coach Chris Aspdal and carrying Henning, Ames, Erfe and two other students.

This caused the van to hit the other Rice van, driven by Brown College senior Scott Nilsen and carrying the rest of the team.

At press time it was not known whether criminal charges would be filed against the driver of the pickup truck, Martin Runnels, 43, of Katy.

Ames and Erfe are still being treated at Hermann Hospital.

Ames had surgery today for his broken leg.

Erfe said this afternoon that he has two fractured ribs and his spleen is bleeding. He said doctors believe they will not have to remove his spleen, but they are continuing to monitor him. "I feel really lucky that it wasn't worse for me," Erfe said.

Debate coach Dan West, assistant coach Aspdal and three students were treated at Houston Northwest Medical Center and released early this morning.

Henning was dead at the scene of the accident.

Baker Masters Jim and Chris Copeland learned of the news early this morning. After notifying Henning's parents, the Copelands sent an e-mail to the college and posted announcements around the college about Henning's death.

Baker College held a private memorial service for Henning at noon today in the college commons. Friends and fellow members of the debate team packed the commons and remembered Henning as an intelligent, well-spoken man who acted as a brother to members of the community. Both President Malcolm Gillis and Vice President for Student Affairs Zenaido Camacho offered their condolences, as did Baker President Melissa Boddie and Wiess College senior Robert Lundin, who spoke on behalf of the debate team.

Lindley Doran, director of the Counseling Center said counselors are available to speak with students about the accident. "It's really important for people to debrief about these things, talk about their feelings ... and to try to make sense about something that doesn't make sense," Doran said. The center is available 24 hours a day by telephone at (713) 348-4867.

The following students and coaches were involved in yesterday's accident. Those listed with less serious injuries were taken to Houston Northwest Medical Center and released. Brook Ames and Michael Erfe are at Hermann Hospital.
Brook Ames broken leg, fair condition
Chris Aspdal, asst. coach less serious injuries
Andrew Courtwright less serious injuries
Michael Erfe internal injuries, fair condition
Dan Henning died at accident scene
Randall Meissen  
Rifi Newaz  
Scott Nilsen  
Hiren Patel  
Satrajit Sardar less serious injuries
Patrick Sullivan  
Tim Werner less serious injuries
Dan West, coach less serious injuries
Catherine Yu  
Counseling Center Associate Director Michael Winters and members of Student Affairs staff visited the team members at Houston Northwest Medical Center last night.

Vice President for Public Affairs Terry Shepard said that Rice began a review of its travel policies after four members of the Prairie View A&M University track team were killed in a van crash Feb. 10. The review is currently pending.

Shepard said the Rice students and coaches were all wearing seat belts. "There are some accidents that can't be prevented by being careful," he said.

Erfe spoke about Henning from his hospital room this afternoon . "It's sad that we lost one of our teammates," he said. "He was one of the most promising freshmen that we had, and he was a really, really nice guy."

Henning is survived by his parents Timothy and Diane Henning, of Vernon Hills, Ill. Information on funeral services for Dan Henning was not available at press time.

Other members of the Thresher editorial staff contributed to this report.

Baker College Master Jim Copeland and Baker Resident Associate Greg Marshall sent out an e-mail message at noon Wednesday with information about Dan Hennings funeral arrangements. This is the text:
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 12:10:26 -0600
From: James Copeland 
Subject: Details on Dan Henning's funeral and memorials

Many people have asked about details of the funeral and memorials for
Baker College freshman Dan Henning.

In lieu of flowers, the Henning family has requested that donations in
Dan's memory be made to Baker College or the George R. Brown Forensics
Society at Rice University.

A wake will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. on Thursday March 16th at the
McMurrough Funeral Chapel, 101 Park Place, Libertyville, IL 60048
(847-362-2626).  The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday March 17th at
St. Mary of Vernon Church, Route 45, Vernon Hills, IL 60061

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Zenaido Camacho has arranged for a
group of students from Baker College to attend the wake and funeral.  In
case information on their itinerary would be of help to others making
travel plans, they will take Continental Airlines flight #1676 departing
Bush International Airport in Houston at 10:49 a.m. on Thursday March 16th
and arriving at Chicago's O'Hare Airport at 1:14 p.m.  The return flight,
Continental #1598, departs O'Hare at 6:14 p.m. March 17th, arriving in
Houston at 8:53 p.m.  Baker College has arranged transportion to and from
IAH for these students and with advance notice, can assist others wishing
to take the same flights.  Please contact either Baker College Master Jim
Copeland ( or Baker College Resident Associate Greg
Marshall (  The Henning family suggests that those
planning to attend the funeral and stay in town overnight consider the
Holiday Inn in Mundelein, Illinois which is close to the site of the
funeral.  The reservation number for the Holiday Inn is
1-800-465-4329; the hotel's direct number is 847-949-5100.


Jim Copeland and Greg Marshall


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