Thursday storm killed UNC student

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 05:41 PM

The storm that swept through Durham on Thursday also hit Chapel Hill, taking down power lines and trees, and claiming the life of a UNC-Chapel Hill senior.

Twenty-year-old Xuezhou Nan, of Cary, died after sustaining injuries from a falling tree, according to an email from UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp.

Nan, who went by the name Julia, was pinned under a fallen tree near a sorority house on the 300 block of East Franklin Street.

“We received a call at 5:17 p.m. for a tree that had fallen on a person and had them pinned,” said Jim Groves, Director of Orange County Emergency Services. “So we dispatched our units.  A bystander had removed this young lady out from under the tree that she was under.”

“It’s our understanding that the (bystander) actually witnessed the tree hitting (Nan),” Groves said.

Emergency Medical Services reached the scene at 5:24 p.m., according to OCES, and a crew rushed Nan to the UNC Hospital Emergency Room. She later died from traumatic injuries.

“I hope that all of you, Julia’s fellow Tar Heels, will keep her family and friends in your thoughts at this sad time,” Thorp’s email said.

Lt. Kevin Gunter, of the Chapel Hill Police Department, said officials made several responses Thursday evening regarding downed power lines and about 12 fallen trees. Areas affected by the trees and power lines included the 600 block of West Franklin Street, East Rosemary Street and Pickard Lane, and West Cameron and Roberson Street. 

Deputy Chief Robert Bosworth of the Chapel Hill Fire Department said 13 downed trees or limbs were reported through 911 to his department. About half of those trees affected power lines, all of which have been fixed.

A tree on Dawes Street hit a car and did some structural damage to a house, Bosworth said.

Bosworth also said that 10 traffic signals went out, and that most of them were on the southern side of Chapel Hill. All have been fixed.

South Columbia Street, half of which has been closed for a street widening project, was completely shut down for an hour and a half Friday. Bosworth said all traffic on the street had to be stopped so that a high tension power line that had been damaged by a tree limb could be restored.

As of 4 p.m. Friday, 21 Duke Energy Progress customers in Orange County and 823 in Durham County were experiencing power outages. As of the same time for Duke Energy customers, there were 1,233 outages in Orange County and 474 in Durham County.