By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma has identified the OU student from China who died in a car wreck Wednesday while on spring break in Arizona.
“It is with sadness that the University of Oklahoma shares with you that OU graduate student Dian Zou, age 22, died March 19 in a one-vehicle accident in Arizona,” said Catherine Bishop, OU vice president for Public Affairs.
Zou was a student of microbiology who entered OU fall 2013. He completed six hours in the fall and was enrolled in seven hours this spring.
The passenger in his car, who was injured but survived the accident, was not affiliated with OU, Bishop said.
The car wreck occurred when a BMW sedan went off an Arizona highway, Route 88, and tumbled down a 200-foot cliff Wednesday.
The BMW sedan was traveling too fast for conditions during the middle of the night to make a curve on state Route 88, said Bart Graves, Arizona Department of Public Safety public information officer. The narrow, twisting two-lane highway is in extremely rugged terrain in the Tonto National Forest east of the Phoenix area.
The Associated Press reported that the injured passenger yelled and got the attention of two friends in another vehicle who called 911.
A rescue crew used a basket to carry out the passenger and take him to a hospital.
“The passenger was sent to intensive care for breathing problems related to internal injuries,” Graves said. “The injured passenger is still in the hospital.”
The vehicle went over a 100-foot embankment that was angled at 45 degrees and filled with cacti, boulders and rocks. From there, the car dropped another 100 feet straight down.
The students were in the Phoenix area to visit a friend at Arizona State University. The two friends in the other vehicle were also Chinese students from the University of Oklahoma, Graves said.
Authorities have recovered Zou’s body from the canyon. Graves said due to the long drop, it is likely blunt force trauma was the cause of death, but the Maricopa County medical examiner’s office is working to determine the cause of death and has not released its findings.
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