Fatal crash suspect ‘not bad person, needs to be held responsible,’ girlfriend says
Student was due to graduate in May
MADISON, Wis. — The man accused of killing a University of Wisconsin-Madison student who was walking in downtown Madison Saturday night was arrested Monday, officials said.
Madison police said 32-year-old Kong Vang, of Madison, was arrested on tentative charges of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle, three counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and second-offense operating while intoxicated.
The girlfriend of the man police say hit and killed the student talked to News 3 Tuesday. Mailee Xiong, said the father of four is a good person who is devoted to his family and made a mistake.
“We both feel so sorry for the girl, the student. She was a really amazing person. We read about her, I told him about her,” Xiong said.
Police said 24-year-old Wenxin Huai, of Madison, died after the SUV Vang was driving at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday struck her as she was walking on the sidewalk in the 400 block of South Park Street.
Huai was taken to a hospital but did not survive her injuries. Two other pedestrians were treated at the scene, according to the report.
“He is not a bad person. He did something wrong and he needs to be held responsible. He needs to show everyone what a good father is and what a good person is and what they have to do when they do something wrong,” Xoing said.
The Dane County medical examiner said Huai died as a result of injuries she suffered when she was struck by the SUV.
A statement from UW officials said Huai came to Madison in 2015 from Bejing where she graduated from Peking University. She was studying economics and working as a research assistant in the Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory.
“Wenxin was a gracious and thoughtful member of our economics community. She was polite, eager to learn and extraordinarily kind. The department joins me in expressing our deepest condolences to her family and friends who have been so tragically affected,” Ananth Seshadri, chairman of the Department of Economics, said in a statement.
She was expected to receive her master’s degree in economics next month.
“Her fellow students are mourning and grieving and are really trying to be there for her family. When you lose someone who is close to you as a young adult and especially being in a country that is not super familiar to you. It can be really scary ,” Interim Director of International Student Services Joshua Moon Johnson said.
International Student Services will host a support gathering from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the campus Multicultural Student Center on the second floor of the Red Gym, 716 Langdon St. Counselors will be present.
“We have many international students here and we want to make sure we can support them in the best way possible and this goes far beyond just processing their visas and immigration paperwork, but really making sure we can provide the emotional support that they need in times like this,” Moon Johnson said. “The biggest thing is to be in (a) community. To vocalize to people what you feel like you might need in that space and what you need might be different from one person to the next.”
Xiong said Vang was driving from a cultural event he had attended earlier in the day but does not know why he would drive under the influence.
“He blacked out. He didn’t know anything. He woke up and they told him and he couldn’t believe what he did. He’s angry at himself. I’m angry at him. Things could’ve been so much different,” Xiong said.
Xiong said Vang’s first OWI that happened in September of 2007 happened when he was struggling with depression while the couple was grieving the loss of their stillborn baby. Now, with four children at home she said it’s hard to think of life without him.
“They are asking for their father and he is not going to come back and I don’t know what to say to them or what to do,” she said.
Xiong said Vang knows what he did was wrong and will take responsibility for his actions.
“He believes in justice and believes in what’s right. He is going to be responsible and he is going to try his best to do everything he can,” Xiong said.
The southbound lanes of South Park Street near the crash site were closed for three hours Saturday night.
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