26-year-old Lyft passenger killed in Durham crash worked at Duke University

·2 min read

A rideshare passenger was fatally thrown from a car in a Durham crash Tuesday that also injured two others.

Daniel Joseph Watt, 26, was killed in the early-morning crash, the N.C. State Highway Patrol said in a news release.

Watt was a residence coordinator at Duke and had worked for the university sine 2019, said Steve Hartsoe, a Duke spokesman.

He was riding in a Lyft vehicle on the Durham Freeway near Ellis Road around 1:30 a.m. when a 41-year-old Durham man in a 2017 Mercedes-Benz failed to slow down and rear-ended the car, according to the release.

The Mercedes-Benz overturned in the crash, officials said.

The Lyft car, a 2017 Toyota, continued off the left shoulder of the highway and hit a guardrail, throwing Watt out of the car.

Watt was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the Highway Patrol.

Speed and alcohol are believed to have been factors in the crash, and charges are forthcoming, officials said.

Both drivers were taken to Duke Hospital.

In a statement over email, a Lyft spokesperson said the company was “heartbroken by this tragic incident.”

“Our hearts are with the rider’s family during this incredibly difficult time, and we’ve attempted to reach out to them as well as the driver to offer our support,” they said. “We stand ready to assist law enforcement however we can.”

The spokesperson said Lyft encourages all riders and drivers to wear seatbelts.

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