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University of Chicago Law Student Dies in Lake Shore Drive Crash

By Alex Parker | May 3, 2014 8:54am | Updated on May 5, 2014 8:48am
 University of Chicago law student Laura LaPlante died in a wrong-way crash on Lake Shore Drive.
University of Chicago law student Laura LaPlante died in a wrong-way crash on Lake Shore Drive.
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University of Chicago Facebook/Laura LaPlate LinkedIn

CHICAGO — A University of Chicago Law School student from New Hampshire died after a car going the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive collided with the taxi she was in early Friday morning.

Laura Anne LaPlante, a 26-year-old woman from Hancock, N.H., was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital at 6:33 p.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. University officials confirmed she was enrolled in the law school.

LaPlante was expected to graduate this year, and was a summer associate last year at WilmerHale, a law firm in Boston, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was to join the firm as an associate this fall, said law school Dean Michael Schill. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2010.

Schill said LaPlante was known for "her warmth and kindness, always the first to volunteer to help out at an event or to help a friend, always with a smile for everyone."

She was a leader on campus, serving as president of the Federalist Society, treasurer for the Law School Republicans, and active in the St. Thomas More Society, the Law Women’s Caucus, and the Edmund Burke Society, Schill said.

"I cannot make sense of the passing of such a wonderful, vital young woman who would surely have done so much in her life to make the world a better place. At the same time, during Laura’s short time on earth she made an impact," he said.

Emily Heasley, LaPlante's roommate said her death was a tragedy.

"Laura was such a beautiful, kind and giving person. She always lived her life to the fullest, and she was deeply loved by everyone who had the blessing of knowing her. She had been talking about how excited she was to graduate in a few weeks and start her life in Boston," she said, in a statement released by the university.

Police said charges are pending against the wrong-way driver of the Subaru involved in the crash.

Around 1:50 a.m. Friday, the man was driving his Subaru southbound in the northbound lanes of of the drive near Randolph Street when he struck a cab carrying two passengers, LaPlante and a 25-year-old man, who is also a law student at the university, police and university officials said.

Both of the passengers were taken to Northwestern in critical condition.

The taxi driver and the wrong-way driver, whose ages haven't been available, were taken to Stroger Hospital, where their conditions had stabilized.