GW remembers law student killed in hit and run accident

GW mourned the loss of law student Seth Wadley, who was killed in December by an alleged drunk driver, at a memorial service Thursday.

Wadley, 24, died at GW Hospital Dec. 20 as about a dozen of his family and friends gathered outside his hospital room. The Washington Post reported Wadley and two friends were crossing the street at the 1100 block of G Street NW when a driver ran a red light and struck Wadley. The three friends were celebrating the end of the semester after completing their final exams, according to the article.

Ricardo Antonio Aspillaga, a 31-year-old Arlington resident, allegedly fled the scene and was charged with driving while intoxicated, according to the Post.

But at the GW memorial program, members of the community put the tragic details of this crime aside to remember Wadley’s short but spirited life.

Wadley, who was originally from Harrisburg, Pa., graduated from Tufts University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. During his senior year, he was honored as Tufts’ Most Outstanding Leader and received the Outstanding Community Service award twice.

Wadley came to GW Law School in the fall of 1997 and was looking forward to graduating with the title of Esquire, according to a biography printed in the program.

Though Wadley won numerous awards for his oral argument skills at the University, his charm is what the GW community remembered him for.

Associate Professor of Law Bob Tuttle remembered Wadley and his study partners, Andrea Blount, Bryan Wallace and Kwenji Jackson, during their first year of law school. The four students went to Tuttle’s office the day before their exam.

The other three were just wigging out, Tuttle said. But he said Wadley remained calm and kept everyone laughing despite the duress of the exam.

(Wadley) could start a conversation with just about anyone, Tuttle said. He was the friendliest person I knew.

A close friend of Wadley’s, Ibukunolu T. Okusanya, sang Garth Brook’s The Dance at the memorial in commemoration of Wadley’s untimely death. The song’s lyrics seemed to offer perspective in the face of tragedy. And I/I’m glad I didn’t know/the way it all would end, the way it all would go/Our lives are better left to chance/I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.

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