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Promising Harvard Researcher Killed

October 13, 2003

BOW, N.H. (AP) _ A car went out of control on an interstate and tumbled into a river, killing a promising Harvard University graduate student on her first wedding anniversary, authorities said.

Police and bystanders got to Brina and David Shackelford’s car minutes after it went into the Merrimack River on Saturday night. They were able to save David, 28, but couldn’t find his 27-year-old wife in the darkness and murky water. She was finally found when a wrecker pulled the car from the river, but was pronounced dead later at a hospital.

``This is just an extreme tragedy,″ police Chief Rodney Forey said. ``Even the officers that responded to the scene were devastated by what occurred.″

David Shackelford told police the cruise control got stuck before he lost control of the car on Interstate 89 south of Concord, sped through an intersection, hit a curb and became airborne.

Brina Shackelford was studying the mechanics of cell division while working on her doctorate, said Dr. David Pellman, her adviser at Harvard. He called her the ``glue″ that held together their laboratory team at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

The couple was returning to Boston from Vermont when the accident happened shortly before 10:40 p.m. Saturday. The investigation was continuing.

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