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Tufts University Student, Parents Killed In New Zealand Crash

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (CBS/AP) -- A Tufts University student and her parents were killed when their car crashed into a logging truck in New Zealand, authorities said Thursday.

Julie Lee, 20, was driving near the central North Island town of Tokoroa Tuesday afternoon when the car crossed the center line for an unknown reason and collided head-on with the truck. The computer science major, due to graduate in 2016, was in the process of moving to start a study abroad program at the University of Auckland through Arcadia University, Tufts said in a statement.

Her parents, Warren Lee, 53, and his wife Aesoon Lee, 52, were both American citizens living in Hong Kong. The couple's 18-year-old son was critically injured in the crash and remains in an area hospital, police spokeswoman Kim Perks said.

Perks said the son was in the passenger seat and the couple was in the rear of the car. She said an initial scene examination indicated the parents were not wearing seatbelts.

The truck driver was not injured in the crash, said police, who are continuing to investigate the accident.

"This loss is a tragedy for all who knew and loved Julia and her parents, and for Julia's faculty members, advisors, classmates, and friends," Tufts administrators said in a statement. "This is also a loss for all members of the Tufts community. Julia was a young woman of tremendous vibrancy and compassion and she will be deeply missed."

A gathering was planned for Thursday at noon at the Goddard Chapel. The school said it also planning a campus tribute to Lee's life at a future date.

In 2012, three Boston University students were killed and five were injured when a van they were traveling in swerved off a road while they were studying abroad in New Zealand.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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