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Tech student dies after driver falls asleep at wheel

Nov. 2, 1999


Staff writer

The string of student deaths from drivers falling asleep added its latest victim Friday afternoon when Michael Burrows, a sophomore at Texas Tech University, was killed in a one-car automobile accident on Highway 36 near Caldwell in Burleson County.

Five other Tech students were injured when the driver reportedly fell asleep and veered off the road into a creek bed, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The University Daily, Tech's campus newspaper, reports that Burrows was traveling with five other Tech students to a regional conference for the National Society of Black Engineers when the accident occurred.

'This is very regrettable,' Michael Shonrock, Tech dean of students, told the paper. 'Our prayers are with their families. [The accident] is a tremendous loss for Texas Tech and the families.'

These words are all too familiar to Baylor University, where seven students have died already this semester from drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

This statistic prompted Baylor Student Congress to team up with Texas A&M University Student Senate members Thursday to promote drowsy driving awareness across Texas, throwing Baylor's full support behind the Lupe Medina Bill for Driving Safety, which would organize a program of discounted hotel rooms for college students traveling more than 55 miles away from their home university between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Baylor Student Body President Jon Rolph, a Wichita, Kan., junior, said tragedies like this could be avoided 'if college students could be educated and know how dangerous it is to drive tired.'

'It is hard to drive that fact home to college students because they think sleep is something they can control,' he said.

Rolph said efforts are under way to offer condolences and include Texas Tech in the partnership formed last week.