After Collision with Truck, Walla Walla University Student Madison Baird Passes Away

(Spectrumbot) #1

Madison (Maddy) Jewel Baird, a student at Walla Walla University, passed away today after being fatally struck by a truck yesterday afternoon. She was 20 years old.

Around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Baird was struck by a truck driving westbound on Whitman Avenue near the Walla Walla University campus. The truck driver told the Walla Walla County Sherrif’s Office that the setting sun caused a glare, affecting his visibility. He claims to have reduced his speed and did not even realize he had hit Baird until after felt his vehicle collide with her.

Baird was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington last night with numerous severe injuries, and several of her closest friends and family drove to Seattle to be by her side.

News of the accident spread rapidly through social media, and people from around the world began to lift up Barid, her friends, and her family in prayer.

On Wednesday evening, Walla Walla area healthcare professional Geary Heagy updated his Facebook page with a publicly-shared note from Baird’s father, Dr. Art Giebel:

The doctors have made it clear that modern medicine has nothing to offer. However, God still offers relationship and meaning [...] The very things that make Maddy so precious to us all. Our family continues to ask our Heavenly Father for healing and miracles, just like a child would ask a favor of their father. We know that a father loves to do things for the children he loves, but fathers do know best. We are persisting and begging our Heavenly Father for our wishes of healing, but we rest in the knowledge that He knows best and will trust Him whatever happens.”

Along with the message from Baird's father was a photograph of Baird's parents next to her in the hospital. The photo was shared 176 times on Facebook.

Around 9 p.m., WWU President John McVay made an official statement on the Walla Walla University website entitled "WWU grieves loss of a special light," with the news of Baird’s passing:

We are saddened to inform you that Walla Walla University lost a treasured member of our campus family this evening with the death of Madison Baird. At the time of her death, Maddy was surrounded by family and friends, who were singing together and sharing messages of hope from the hundreds who loved her. Maddy was a bright light on our campus and in our community, and our hearts are broken.

Campus chaplains, counselors, and pastors are available this evening in Conard Chapel for students, faculty, and staff, and will be available as needed in the days to come. We will keep you informed about opportunities to celebrate Maddy’s life.”

Walla Walla Valley Academy, where Baird graduated in 2013, also posted a statement:

“It is with heavy hearts that we share with you the loss of Madison Jewel Baird, 2013 WWVA Alumni and sister of senior Josie Baird. Her joyful smile, zest for living, creativity, love for her creator and beautiful spirit inspired everyone she met […]

Please especially keep Josie, as well as her parents, family and friends, in your hearts and prayers. As our community has gathered in prayer and support, we have been reminded that this earth is not our home, and we are passing through.”

Andrew’s University’s Student Movement posted condolences upon hearing the news: “Hurting for our sister school tonight. Prayers for Madison’s friend and family. #MaddyStrong

Union College’s student paper, The Clocktower, also offered words of support: “Let us continue praying as our Walla Walla family goes through this time of need. ‘Weeping may come in the night, but joy comes in the morning.’ Psalm 30:5.”

PUC’s Campus Chronicle shared these thoughts: “Words cannot express the sorrow that pours out from this tragic event. #MaddyStrong.”

La Sierra University posted this from their Facebook page: “Once again the entire La Sierra University family is united in support for a sister school, this time our friends at Walla Walla University […] To the entire Walla Walla University community--the students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni--La Sierra University is united in prayer for you at this unbelievable time. May each of you feel God's loving arms surrounding your entire campus.”

Many WWU students expressed their sorrow and shock on social media. Over and over, the sentiment was repeated that Maddy was one of the kindest, happiest, and sweetest people most had had the privilege to meet. Even those who did not especially know her felt a deep sense loss and spoke fondly of their interactions.

The “Share Love For Maddy” Facbeook page has been saturated with favorite memories and moments with Baird.

WWU student Grant Perdew wrote: “Yesterday, moments before Maddy embarked on her bike ride to Whitman, I exchanged a few of the last words with her. I was standing outside The Atlas, and as she walked her bike to the crosswalk, she exclaimed to me with as much brightness as ever, ‘Grant! I can't believe how beautiful of a day it is!’ Madison Jewel Barid, your light did not ever, and will never stop shining. #maddystrong.”

Rachel Logan is a writing intern for Spectrum Magazine.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:13) #2

So very sad. Prayers for Maddy’s family & all who loved her. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

(George Tichy) #3

There is no bigger tragedy than parents losing a child, especially in such odd circumstances. May God comfort the whole family and the communities affected by this loss.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #4

As a great grand parent, My grief is up close and personnel. Having passed through a death experience for only moments, I can testify that the experience is one of supreme peace. What a glad tidings we have in Jesus. He is the resurrection and the life and in this hour our Comforter. The why is beyond us, the hope is not.,Tom Z

(Carolyn Parsons) #5

I just found out that Maddy was my nephew’s friend. She has had a great impact on her family, friends, school and church and beyond with her positive attitude and generous spirit.


please remember pray for the man who hit her. He needs prayer also. It will be very hard for him to forgive himself . It was an accident and this man is full of sorrow.


Quiet a sad news. My prayer and most sincerest thoughts go to the family. One day we shall all cross the deadly voyage of death into the glorious heavenly kingdom of our Lord, that day he shall return in His glory. Amen!

(Kim Green) #8

I am so glad that they put that beautiful picture of her running in the meadow…she appears to have had a beautiful spirit. Her time on this earth is over but I am sure that she will be remembered by all who loved her.

(Interested Friend) #9

I’m sure that no words can describe the grief of parents in losing a daughter after having had her for 20 years. I cannot imagine the deep sorrow that ensues.
May the Good Lord comfort her parents and loved ones.
In The Grip of Truth

(Frank Peacham) #10

“We are persisting and begging our Heavenly Father for our wishes of healing”

I wonder why such a beautiful prayer of petition of human need did not move the heart of God?

(k_Lutz) #11

See indigenous suffering and/or …

Trust God.

(jeremy) #12

i find this story so difficult to take in - on many levels…but i believe it’s in moments like these when our faith becomes its own reward…we can honestly trust and reconcile our feelings around the thought that god is working everything out according to our best good - according to how we would choose could we see the end from the beginning, like he does…

(George Davidovich) #13

So very sad to read this story, and so humbled… Seeing Madison’s parents over her bed reminds me of what my parents must have gone through, even though the outcome was different. When I was twenty years old I was also struck by a car during one my daily hour+ walks near dusk time on US Rt 31 Berrien Srings while attending Andrews. It changed my life forever as I spent nearly 6 months in two hospitals recuperating.
I don’t kno why Jesus spared my life as I would spend the next 22 years away from Him, but He did…