A New Hampshire woman who was two weeks away from graduating from the University of Chicago law school was killed early Friday in Chicago when the taxi she was riding in was hit by a car driven by a suspected drunken driver, according to Chicago media reports.
Laura LaPlante, 26, of Hancock, N.H., was riding in the cab shortly before 2 a.m. Friday when a Subaru traveling south in a northbound lane of Lake Shore Drive hit the taxi, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
Lauren Carney of Hancock, who said she has known LaPlante for 20 years, said LaPlante, a 2010 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, had a job lined up in Boston for after she graduated later this month.
"There are no words at all to explain something like this," she said. "It's devastating. It rocks a small community like Hancock. It rocks you to your granite core."
"We are greatly saddened to learn of the death of alumna Laura LaPlante," UNH spokewoman Erika Mantz said. "She graduated in 2010 with a dual major in economics and philosophy, and was also a member of the women's cross country team. She was recognized on the America East Academic Honor Roll for her scholastic success. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time."
Carney and her mother, Judy Zanca, who is also a friend of the LaPlante family, each described LaPlante as a bright, athletic young woman with a terrific sense of humor. She was the oldest of four children of Dan and Roberta LaPlante of Hancock, Carney said.
"She was a remarkable young woman," Zanca said. "She was funny. She was everything."
LaPlante was the president of the Federalist Society at the University of Chicago law school, treasurer of the Law School Republicans, and a member of the St. Thomas More Society, the Law Women's Caucus and the Edmund Burke Society, law school dean Michael Schill told the Tribune. She had planned to join the Boston law firm WilmerHale as an associate in the fall after working there last summer as an associate, he said.
Charges are pending against the driver of the Subaru, who was injured in the crash, Chicago police told the Tribune. The cab driver and a 25-year-old student riding in the taxi with LaPlante were injured in the accident.