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Belmont student killed in Wednesday's storm

Belmont law student Laurel Flaherty was killed during Wednesday night’s storms when a tree fell on her car on Old Natchez Trace.

Belmont President Greg Jones shared the news with students, faculty and staff via email.

Flaherty graduated from Belmont’s undergraduate program in May and joined the law school this semester. She hoped to use social work and law to create change as the International Justice Mission’s chapter president, Jones said.

She won the Department of Social Work’s Williams Award – an award given to high-achieving social work students, according to Jones’ email.

“We are all devastated by this news,” Jones wrote. “And we are reaching out to Laurel’s family to offer our support and deepest condolences.”

Storms ripped through middle Tennessee just before sunset Wednesday night, with the brunt of the storm hitting south of Belmont in Williamson County. Tennessee Highway Patrol said the accident happened at approximately 4:30 p.m. and around the same time, Belmont issued a tornado warning for students to shelter on campus.

Counseling Services is open to all students, whether they have an appointment or not. TimelyCare is available for 24/7 virtual counseling and the Gabhart Chapel will be open tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. with counselors present.

With the support of Flaherty’s family, the university plans on holding a memorial service on campus in the coming weeks.

This article was written by Gracie Anderson and Sarah Maninger.

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