2016 Nonnewaug Graduate Dana McWilliams, who recently moved to Florida to pursue a career training horses, was killed in a car accident on November 25.
According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, McWilliams lost control of the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro she was driving on South Shore Boulevard in Wellington, FL. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said the car was traveling “at a high rate of speed,” drove onto the median, and struck several trees before coming to a stop several hundred feet away from the initial impact.
McWilliam and Christian Kennedy, 21, who was sitting in the front seat, were pronounced dead at the scene. Police said a third person in the car, Elaine Halloran, 24, of Wellington, was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach with critical injuries.
“Words cannot express the devastating heartbreak that my family and I feel in knowing that we’ve lost my beautiful 19-year old sister,” her brother, David McWilliams, wrote on a GoFundMe page he set up to help the family pay for her services. “She was such a beautiful person, so full of life and she was loved by so many people.”
As of 9 a.m. on December 2, the family had raised more than $14,000 towards its $24,000 goal.
Dana McWilliams studied horse management at Nonnewaug’s Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience & Technology Program. She moved to Florida about six weeks ago to work for equestrian trainer Maarten Huygens.
While relatively new to the field of show-jumping, she was recognized as quick to learn the ropes and earned a reputation for being a hard worker and a young woman with enormous potential due to her phenomenal work ethic and dedication to her work and to horses, According to Legacy.com.
McWilliams had spent her summers training at SaddleView Farms in Bethany.
According to Legacy.com, Dana’s friends and family will remember her fondly as someone who inspired them with her honest love in all her relationships and her pure joy for life. Everyone she met recognized a beauty about her that was found both inside and out.
The youngest of three children, Dana McWilliams was born on September 19, 1998 in Derby to Robin Diaz and David McWilliams Sr. She is survived by her mother Robin Diaz and stepfather Jose Diaz of Bethany, David McWilliams Sr. of Ansonia, her sister Brittany Nebelsky of Bradenton, FL, and her brother David McWilliams Jr. and sister-in-law Jessica McWilliams of Singapore.
Family, friends, and others whose lives Dana touched are invited to a memorial service on Sunday, December 3, at 2 p.m. at Seymour United Methodist Church at 90 Pearl Street, and will be followed by a fellowship luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Connecticut Draft Horse Rescue at 113 Chestnut Hill Road, East Hampton, CT 06424 in honor of Dana May McWilliams.