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Duke student killed in crash; driver charged with DWI

Posted September 15, 2011

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— A single-vehicle crash near Duke University left one student dead early Thursday, Durham police said. 

A passenger in the vehicle, 21-year-old Matthew Grape, of Wellesley, Mass., was pronounced dead at the scene. Grape was a senior.

At approximately 2:40 a.m., a Chevrolet Equinox driven by Lee Royster, 21, of Hickory, ran off the road and struck a tree. The vehicle went down an embankment and landed on its roof. 

Royster, also a senior, was taken to Duke University Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Investigators charged Royster with driving while impaired. Further charges are pending.

The crash occurred near the intersection of Duke University Road and Academy Road on the south side of Duke's campus. 


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  • Legally Here Sep 16, 2011

    very Sad i wish people would be more responsible when drinking.

  • peplquitwhinin Sep 15, 2011

    Question_Why..... He was charged with drunk driving. How does the passenge getting into the car have anything to do with the fact he was driving under the influence??? Sorry to hear about it. Driving while drinking just isn't worth the chance. If you lose that gamble it is very costly.

  • question_why Sep 15, 2011

    I am sorry to hear a young man lost his life in such a tragedy but I have to wonder about charges against the driver. It is one thing when a drunk driver kills someone in another vehicle but in the same vehicle, the passenger has to have some of the responsibility. He didn't have to get in the car and chances are pretty good that he was probably drinking also. It is a tragedy.

  • VT1994Hokie Sep 15, 2011

    I hate to read about a young person losing his life like this. Out that late always tells us. Praying for all involved and both families.

  • eccgc Sep 15, 2011

    oh my god. this is my cousin.

    So very sorry for your loss. What a horrible, horrible tragedy for all concerned.

  • teddywolf3 Sep 15, 2011

    oh my god. this is my cousin.

  • Gork Sep 15, 2011

    How many of you have ever gotten behind the wheel after drinking (most)? You've just been luckier than this boy.

  • jimebear Sep 15, 2011

    Amazing...I've always believed in giving people a "second chance" but it's not possible in many situations.
    Mr. Grape has no second chance....so I don't think the drunk driver should be given one either.

  • Bartmeister Sep 15, 2011

    This just blows....................

  • hemerocallis Sep 15, 2011

    This is so tragic. My heart goes out to both families in this situation.

    I know people who continue drink and drive and I cannot for the life of me understand why. Sometimes I hear them brag about how wasted they were and they aren't sure how they were able to drive home. It is so careless but they feel like they are invincible until something tragic like this happens. Call a friend...call a taxi...call that scooter company that gingerlynn mentioned below. Don't risk your life or someone else's life. It isn't worth it. Whenever I go out I am always the DD because I know no one else will volunteer to do it...but I would rather be the DD every single time than see one of my friends end up in a situation like this.