Lea Byers and Ethan Richman, both freshmen, died on April 3 when their car was struck by a wrong-way driver on U.S. 24 in Miami County. Martin Carrigan, visiting lecturer in the School of Business, died unexpectedly on April 2.
“We are truly saddened by the deaths of Lea, Ethan, and Marty,” said Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke. “This is a huge loss for our campus and community, and I extend my deepest condolences to their loved ones on behalf of all our students, faculty, and staff.”
Lea, 18, and Ethan, 19, were the kind of people who made those around them smile.
“They were always happy,” said Cortney Pennington, who was in a speech class with the couple. “If they saw somebody who was down, they cheered them up. There was something special about them.”
Joann Kaiser, senior lecturer in communication arts, had both Ethan and Lea in her speech class, and said the remaining 14 students in the class are devastated.
“There’s going to be a hole,” she said. “People will notice they are gone. Lea had a smile for everyone, and Ethan did too. They were good kids, they were hard workers, leaders, well-liked.”
She recalled that the two were together constantly, but were focused on being students.
“They were both pre-nursing students,” she said. “That was their goal. They were determined to get into the nursing program. That was their purpose in being here.”
Pennington said they weren’t a typical teenage couple, because of their goals and focus.
“They were mature, and held each other to their responsibilities,” she said. “They challenged each other.”
They had a unique sense of humor, she added, recalling that Ethan was “rotten, so ornery,” while Lea was “the innocent, gets the joke five minutes later kind of hilarious.” Both were intelligent, she added, noting that Lea was “a math genius,” who helped her through the math class they took together.
“I just want everyone to know how wonderful they were,” said Pennington. “We want their families to know we are thinking about them, and remembering them.”
Carrigan, 57, made a lasting impact at IU Kokomo during his short time on campus after being hired in August 2016, on a one-year contract as a visiting lecturer in business law. Dean Alan Krabbenhoft had recently extended his contract, hiring him as a lecturer in business law, and looked forward to witnessing his influence in the classroom.
“Even though Marty was only here eight months, his presence here will be sadly missed,” Krabbenhoft said.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana