Skidmore holds memorial service for student killed by suspected drunk driver

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A community came together Monday night after a tragic accident involving three freshmen at Skidmore College.

It was a somber and serene environment at Skidmore College Monday night. A few hundred people came to a memorial service for Michael Hedges. Hedges was just 19 years old when he and two friends were hit by an accused drunk driver on Halloween night.

Skidmore is described as a community by its students, so whether they knew Hedges or not, many gathered to pay their respects.

“Whether it’s through Facebook or any other social media, everybody is talking about it,” Skidmore student Tristan Watson said. “Everyone in your classes is talking about it. It kind of brings the whole campus down but also brings us together, too.”

Michael Hedges, Skidmore College first-year student, who died early Sunday following a car accident. His high school in Lenox, Mass., provided the photo.
Michael Hedges, Skidmore College first-year student, who died early Sunday following a car accident. His high school in Lenox, Mass., provided the photo.

Those attending the vigil held candles and shared stories about Hedges. Family and friends drove to Saratoga Springs from his hometown of Lenox, Mass. to remember him.

“There are a lot of good things to remember about Michael, but we are just here to remember him tonight,” family friend Christopher Fenton said.

Hedges was a freshman at Skidmore. He was a scholar, athlete and volunteer.

Two other students were injured in the accident.

“Unfortunately, these things happen,” Skidmore lacrosse coach Tucker Kear said. “There’s no playbook for how to deal with these types of things, so you just take it one step at a time and get help if you need it.”

Word of the tragedy has spread throughout the campus. The Skidmore community banded together to keep Hedges memory alive but to also remember how fragile life really is.

“Life really works in unexpected and cruel ways,” Skidmore student Emma Brand said. “I think that’s something that’s really hit a lot of people. It really could have been any of us.”

Grief counselors are available for any student that needs to talk with someone.

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