Art student dies following accident

Laguna College of Art + Design senior Nina Fitzpatrick has died, five days after she was hit by a car while walking in a crosswalk on Laguna Canyon Road, the college announced in a news release Tuesday.

Fitzpatrick, a 22-year-old fine arts student and Costa Mesa resident, was hit by a Honda sedan driven by an 83-year-old Minnesota woman about 8:45 p.m. Thursday in the crosswalk adjacent to the main campus at 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.

She was critically injured and transported to Mission Hospital Mission Viejo, according to Laguna Beach police.

Police and college officials did not disclose the date and time of Fitzpatrick's death.

"We are all deeply saddened over the loss of our dear friend, Nina Fitzpatrick," Hope Railey, LCAD's fine arts chairwoman, said in the release. "Nina was a truly special member of LCAD's fine arts program and of the college. She provided life to our campus through a constant smile and a genuine passion for life. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends across the world and here at LCAD. Our lives forever will be touched by Nina."

The college will hold a candlelight vigil from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday in front of the main campus to honor Fitzpatrick.

Participants are asked to download an app of a burning candle, or to bring battery-operated candles. Live candles and flashlights will not be permitted.

"The solidarity that has developed on campus is palpable and a reminder that we are a community and that we are here to help one another," Vice President of Academic Affairs Hélène Garrison said in the release.

The grassy knoll on the main campus will be renamed Nina's Park, and the college is offering counseling for anyone who needs support during this time.

Police are investigating the incident, but determined alcohol or drugs were not involved, said Laguna Beach Police Capt. Jason Kravetz, who added that police did not arrest or cite anyone.

It is unknown whether the lights that border the crosswalk were blinking as Fitzpatrick crossed the street, and police could not confirm whether she was alone or with a group of people during the crossing, Kravetz said.

Once the report is completed and all relevant evidence is gathered, police will submit a copy to the Orange County district attorney's office for possible charges, Sgt. Louise Callus wrote in a follow-up email.

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