“The EMU community was deeply saddened by the sudden death of incoming student Doyeon Ki on Wednesday, Jan. 1, in a tragic accident,” a university statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends in South Korea and here in the United States.”
Ki was standing in the right lane of northbound traffic on Virginia Route 42 about 10 a.m. when she was struck by multiple vehicles, including an ambulance, police said.
She died at Sentara RMH Medical Center, just north of Harrisonburg, after being transported there from the scene.
Ki was expected to register for the English program at EMU on Jan. 6 with the intention of pursuing a degree, said spokeswoman Andrea Schrock Wenger.
She had arrived in the U.S. Dec. 23 and hoped to become a nurse.
EMU junior Philip Yoder was deeply touched by Ki’s death. His family’s home is near where Ki was killed.
“I’m from this community. It hurts when a tragedy like this happens,” he said. “This could have been my sister. It could have been my friend. It breaks my heart.”
Yoder built a 4-foot cross with Ki’s name on it and placed it at the site of the accident Jan. 9. About 40 people were present, including Ki’s parents, Hyeongsoon Kang and her husband, Youngche Ki, who spent a week in Harrisonburg.
“[At first] I really just complained to God about it happening,” Kang said through an interpreter. “When I came here … I thought we might have three people at the funeral service. So many people came over and they really heartfully took care of my family, and that’s inspiring… . My anger and discouragement scaled down and down and down.”