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KU student killed in crash was driving back from homecoming weekend in St. Louis

A GoFundMe account was created Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which Charlie Gillis was a member of at the University of Kansas. Gillis died following a three-vehicle crash in Leavenworth County.
A GoFundMe account was created Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which Charlie Gillis was a member of at the University of Kansas. Gillis died following a three-vehicle crash in Leavenworth County. GoFundMe

A 20-year-old University of Kansas student was identified as the victim of a three-vehicle crash this week.

Charlie S. Gillis died after a 2015 Freightliner truck pulled out in front of his SUV at U.S. 24 and 166th Street in Leavenworth County on Monday, according to an online crash report from the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Gillis, who was from St. Louis, was returning to the university after spending homecoming weekend at his alma mater, the Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School, the school said in a statement.

“Charlie’s passing leaves a gaping hole in our hearts and in our community,” the statement said. “A dedicated student and talented artist and athlete, he was a Ram through and through.”

According to the highway patrol report, the crash happened around 3:40 p.m. Monday. Gillis, driving a 2001 Chevrolet SUV, was heading west on U.S. 24 when a northbound truck trying to cross the highway pulled out in front of his vehicle. Gillis struck the middle axle of the truck, spun out and hit the front of another vehicle, a 2016 Ford van.

Gillis was taken to KU Medical, where he was pronounced dead on Tuesday.

The crash remains under investigation.

In a statement to news organizations, including The University Daily Kansan, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod confirmed Gillis was a student at the university.

“I was profoundly saddened to learn of the death of one of our students,” Girod said in a statement, according to The Kansan. “On behalf of the entire KU community, I offer my deepest condolences to Charlie Gillis’ family and friends as they mourn this heartbreaking loss. We wish them comfort during this difficult time.”

A GoFundMe account was created Thursday by the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, which Gillis was a member of at the university.

The online fundraising page has raised more than $400 of its $5,000 goal. The fraternity said the money will go toward Gillis’ funeral costs.

“A beloved friend, brother, and son, someone who never failed to bring up a smile to all those around him, free spirited and adventurous are only a few of the ways to describe Charlie Gillis,” a statement said on the GoFundMe page. “We want to celebrate the memory of the type of person that he was and hope to carry on his legacy.”

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