JMU – 3 Dead, 2 Injured in West Virginia Car Crash

Campus community mourns the unexpected loss of multiple classmates.

Five James Madison University students run off the road in West Virginia, on the Virginia line, leaving three dead and two hospitalized.

On Friday February 3rd, the students of a car accident in West Virginia are identified. There were five people in the car at the time of the crash and all were James Madison University students. Three students are pronounced dead at the scene while the other two are airlifted and hospitalized due to critical condition. As of Friday, the driver and passenger survivors are still hospitalized. All five boys present were 19 years old. The crash occurred around 10:30pm on Thursday, February 2nd on route 259. The vehicle ran off the road near the Virginia/West Virginia border where it hit a tree. “The were no signs of skid or yaw marks noted on the roadway surface indicating any type of evasive actions and no indications of an animal being struck,” states the Hardy Country Sheriff’s Office. Although the boys had been at a club prior, it was not revealed if alcohol played a factor.

At 4:30 p.m., JMU released a letter revealing the names of the three students who were killed. James Madison University faces the loss of sophomore John “Luke” Fergusson, who was majoring in media arts and design from Richmond, as well as Nicholas Troutman, a sophomore majoring in business management, also from Richmond, VA. Lastly, Williamsburg VA’s Joshua Mardis, who was a sophomore, communication studies major.

Other Dukes come together and host a candlelit memorial in support of the three boys’ families as they face a hard loss.

The tragic event takes a hard toll on the community. “This is the type of thing that really gutted me,” says JMU alumni, Jonathan McNamara. “The JMU community is one big family. Anytime one member of the JMU community is hurting we’re all hurting.” McNamara describes this University as a “special place” having a “family aspect” “These three young men will always be remembered as Dukes and will forever be in our hearts,” a letter from vice president for student affairs, Tim Miller, reads. In a post on social media, by the school’s fraternity “Pi Beta Chi” released a statement, reading “As many of you know, several of our friends were in a tragic accident Thursday evening.” The statement then ended by telling viewers to “hold your friends a little closer in the coming days.” The following Sunday, a candlelit vigil was held on campus, in memory of the three students lost in the crash. Many friends come forward and share memories of their friends. “Nick and I go pretty far back. We met when we were seventh graders at middle school football tryouts. Nick was a jokester and a goofball. He was also our friend groups voice of reason. He always made sure everyone was safe included, and having a good time,” says Trip Fishburne, the best friend of Nick Troutman. Robert Hancock, a friend of Luke Fergusson states “Luke was my best friend for as long as I can remember. Our friendship continued through middle school high school into JMU.”