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Questions growing after college athlete's death in Vero Beach crash

Posted at 10:48 AM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-17 07:59:11-05

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Investigators are still trying to determine who's at fault in a two-vehicle crash in Vero Beach that claimed the life of a Massachusetts college athlete.

Police said 20-year-old Grace Rett lost her life on Wednesday when a van she was riding in collided with a pickup truck at the Merril P. Barber Bridge and Indian River Boulevard.

On Thursday, Dr. Jason Moore, a trauma surgeon at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Fort Pierce, said eight victims are still recovering at the hospital.

Three patients are in critical condition, two are in serious and two are in good condition. On patient was released Thursday afternoon.

One victim still has not regained consciousness.

"This is the most significant number of patients I've encountered who are in such serious condition all at one time," said Dr. Moore, who added all the victims are expected to survive.

"I expect all of them to survive at this point," said Dr. Moore.

Police said Rett was a member of the women's rowing team at The College of the Holy Cross, which is located in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Rett, a sophomore, was traveling with fellow members of the rowing team, along with her head coach.

Dr. Moore said it was an "all hands on deck" situation when the patients were rushed to the hospital on Wednesday, and extra rooms were set aside for trauma patients.

"It's been a positive experience in seeing how well the hospital can mobilize its resources, but also how people can come together in a time of crisis and tragedy and put their own needs aside for the greater good of patients," said Dr. Moore.

The doctor added at least six operations have been performed so far, and some of the victims suffered major head, pelvic, and abdominal injuries.

"It's a terrible situation," said Dr. Moore. "To have this happen, one of their teammates pass away, is a significant tragedy. All we can do is pray for them and offer whatever support we can."

On Thursday, police said an autopsy will be performed on Rett in the next day or two, more witnesses will be interviewed, and the crash scene will be reconstructed to establish who's at fault.

At least 12 others were injured in the wreck, according to police.

Police said students who were not involved in the crash were flown back to Massachusetts on Wednesday night.