Update: Galesburg woman, 33, charged with DUI in student death


Tundun Lawani ’14, center, poses with fellow members of Delta Delta Delta. (Courtesy of Esther Farler-Westphal)

Updated: 1:45 p.m. Sunday

A 33-year-old Galesburg woman has been arrested and charged in the death of a Knox student early Sunday morning. Among the charges are driving under the influence (DUI).

Junior Tundun Lawani died early Sunday morning after she was struck by a vehicle around 3:30 a.m. near South and West streets. She was rushed to Cottage Hospital for emergency treatment and later pronounced dead there, according to campus emails from President Teresa Amott and Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf.

The alleged driver, Lakeesha D. Smith of McKnight Street, has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident (which caused injury or death), driving under the influence, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and driving with no valid insurance. She is being held in the Knox County Jail pending court action Monday.

The Facebook group Knox <3 Tundun Lawani has been started in Lawani’s memory. A gathering to remember her was held Sunday in the Taylor Student Lounge, along with similar gatherings around campus.

Smith will appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Monday for a bond hearing.

Below is Amott’s campus bulletin.

Dear members of the Knox community,

It is with very deep sadness that I write to inform you that early this
morning, Tundun Lawani ’14 was struck by a car as she and a small group
of students crossed South Street in the vicinity of West Street. Tundun
was pronounced dead at the hospital. Her family, including her brother
Oladipo ’08, has been notified. The Galesburg Police Department has
located the vehicle and is interviewing a person they believe to be the
driver, who fled the scene after the accident.

The Office of Student Development will be providing counseling support
to help the campus community mourn this tragic loss. Please contact the
Office of Student Development at extension 7222 during office hours or
at 335-4067 after hours if you would like to learn more about the
support that is available.

I will send information regarding remembrance gatherings as as it
becomes available. Please join Ray and me by remembering Tundun’s family
and friends in your thoughts and prayers and in caring for one another
at this painful time for the Knox family.


Tags:  Campus Safety driving under the influence DUI facebook fatal accident Galesburg Galesburg Police Department hit-and-run Knox Knox College Lakeesha Smith Tundun Lawani

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Oct 28, 2012

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Tundun and the Knox community.

Oct 28, 2012

My prayers and love are with the family and friends of Tundun. May the Lord give you peace in this situation. Praying for the family.

Oct 29, 2012

Thoughts and prayers to family and friends of Tundun and the entire Knox College community. God Bless.

Oct 30, 2012

I commiserate with my colleague on the painful & sad death of her lovely daughter. May the Almighty God give her & the rest of the family, the fortitude to bear this great loss. And May He rest Tundun’s soul in perfect peace. Amen.
To the community of Knox College, Kindly accept my condolence as well, May God Almighty continue to protect the rest of the community & prevent such sad events from your community, henceforth. Amen

Oct 31, 2012

My condolence goes to the Lawani’s family… I pray God to grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss, and to the Knox College community, accept my sympathy as well, The Almighty God continue to protect the rest of the community from incidence like this. Amen

Feb 26, 2013

What a terrible shame. My thought are with the family.

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