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Family Mourns Cheyney University Student Killed In Wrong-Way DUI Crash In Philadephia


Thaduba Turay, a 21-year-old junior at Cheyney University killed in a DUI crash Last Sunday | Photo Courtesy of Fox 29.

FOLCROFT, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Songs of worship filled the air outside a home in Folcroft, Pennsylvania this Tuesday.

Family and friends were gathered for a vigil to remember 21-year-old Thaduba Turay.

Pennsylvania State Police say she was killed in a wrong-way, DUI crash on Interstate 95 North in Philadelphia over the weekend. Family members told Action News the young woman was a Cheyney University nursing student with hopes of becoming a doctor.

“She was just my all in all,” said Thaduba’s grieving father, Samuel Turay. “We had plans, she had a plan, she had a vision and now she’s gone with all of that,” he said.

The deadly crash happened on Sunday, April 14th, just before 3 a.m. Family members told FOX 29‘s Kelly Rule that Thaduba was headed to work from Cheyney University when she was killed in the crash. Troopers say a vehicle traveling southbound in the northbound lanes between exits 19 and 20 struck Thaduba’s car head-on.

Police say the 44-year-old driver who caused the crash was found to be under the influence of alcohol. David Bonilla was allegedly driving against traffic on the northbound side of I-95 early Sunday morning when he crashed head-on into another vehicle. 


‘It’s devastating. It’s terrible to hear that, especially when they say he was drunk. It’s hard to understand,” Samuel added.

Bonilla faces several charges, including homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, and recklessly endangering another person. His bail was set at $750,000.

Cheyney University released a letter to the university family, saying in part:

“The university family mourns the loss of this bright young mind taken from us in a tragic car accident. We extend our deepest sympathies to her family, friends, and all who knew Magdalena. This loss reminds us of the fragility of life and the bonds that connect us all.”

They are offering counseling for those in need and a vigil will be held Friday in memory of Thaduba.

Now, as Thaduba’s father grieves a tremendous loss, he hopes to encourage anyone considering driving under the influence to reconsider. “You are going to take away something very precious from people, from families,” Turay said.

Turay added that the loss of his daughter leaves a huge void in their community and back home in their native Sierra Leone in West Africa. Family members said the “Thaduba Passion Project” supported more than 30 young girls pursuing an education, assisting them with school fees and supplies.

“It’s a big loss to me. It’s a big loss to the family. It’s a big loss to the church. It’s a big loss to the community and even back home where we came from,” Turay said.

Thaduba’s community in Philadelphia is now left to support each other in the wake of her death. Her family has since launched a fundraiser in her name

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Turay family and Cheyney University community during this time.

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