Central student dies in accident
A CMU student, whose father said she was a "beautiful soul," died in an automobile accident Wednesday while heading home for Thanksgiving.
Heather Ann Lichtle, Royal Oak sophomore, and her brother Matthew Thomas Lichtle, 23, died in a three-car automobile accident.
The accident occurred when Heather Lichtle, 20, was driving east-bound on Interstate 96 in the Lansing area and lost control of her vehicle. The vehicle swerved across the median and struck an on-coming van, killing Lichtle and her brother.
The passengers in the van consisted of a family, all receiving serious injuries, said the Eaton County Sheriff's Department.
The male driver is currently in critical condition while the condition of the two children and mother was unknown as of press time.
The third car involved was hit by the tailgate of Lichtle's Geo Tracker. No one was hurt in the third car.
As of press time, police officers did not know what caused Lichtle to lose control of her car.
"Heather was one of those people where you were either her friend or future friend," her father, Thomas, said. "She loved life. She was a beautiful soul."
Heather Lichtle was a life-long resident of Royal Oak and graduated from Royal Oak Kimball High School. She was involved in track and field, the ski club and the high school choir.
She went on to graduate from Oakland Community College with an associate's degree and was working on her bachelor's at CMU in special education. She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and an active member of the Robinson Hall Council.
Thomas Lichtle said, "She was so happy there. She loved being in Robinson. She would call us every day. She thought it was the best thing that somebody liked her."
Matthew Lichtle was a student at Ferris State University and a member of the Delta Chi fraternity, his father said.
Thomas Lichtle said his son was tough. "He would not be defeated. He would not let the school, the system, himself lose.
"Both my kids loved to ski. We've been all over skiing together.
"One of the things that was important was their college," Thomas Lichtle said.
He said he and his son enjoyed playing the card game Magic: The Gathering.
Thomas Lichtle said his wife and daughter had a great bond as well.
"My daughter and my wife were inseparable. My wife's best friend was our daughter.
"We're a very, very close family. How we had so much fun. We've had a great life," Thomas Lichtle said.
Heather Lichtle will be buried at Oakview Cemetery in Royal Oak.
"Heather is one of the most caring and compassionate people I've ever met," said Katja Englund, Sweden senior and member of Alpha Chi Omega.
Englund and Lichtle RUSHed the sorority this fall.
Englund said Lichtle couldn't imagine going into anything else than special education.
"She wanted to make an impact," she said.
"She always made everyone laugh and smile. She was alive."
Englund said it seemed as though the pieces in a puzzle had come together for Lichtle. She said she was laid back and took each day at a time.
"I'm sure if there is one person in heaven right now, it's Heather," Englund said. "She's a sister we will all remember with great pride."
Robinson Hall Director Mike Messner said Lichtle was very dependable, upbeat and had a positive attitude.
"She was very positive to have on hall government," he said. "I think her lead in the hall is going to be missed as well."
"She was definitely really friendly and helped out on the floor," said Jeff Hickman, Taylor senior and resident assistant on Lichtle's floor in Robinson Hall.
Hickman said Lichtle was genuinely interested in those who were in Robinson.
"She is going to be greatly missed by everyone," he said.
Shaun Holtgreive, associate director of Student Life, said counseling will be made available for friends of Lichtle.
Heather and Matthew Lichtle are survived by their parents, Thomas and Betty Lichtle, and their grandmother, Shirley Lichtle of Madison Heights.