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Iraq veteran dies night before University of Illinois graduation

Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 11:03 p.m.CDT • Updated: Monday, May 19, 2014 11:04 p.m.CDT
Caption
(David Mercer)
Students walk past the Alma Mater statue, a landmark on the University of Illinois campus, on April 28 in Urbana. Paul W. Davidson III, an Iraq war veteran, was only a day away from graduating at the University of Illinois has died after being struck by a car while riding his motorcycle.

URBANA – An Iraq war veteran who was only a day away from graduating at the University of Illinois has died after being struck by a car while riding his motorcycle, authorities and the university said.

Paul W. Davidson III died at an Urbana hospital after the accident at a busy intersection near campus on Friday night, Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said. The Urbana woman who drove the car was cited by police for failure to yield. Davidson was not wearing a helmet.

Davidson, who was 30 and a native of Lemont, was scheduled to graduate from the university Saturday with a degree in architecture, university spokeswoman Robin Kaler said.

His mother, Corrine Davidson, said he had just left a family dinner to get a haircut.

Paul Davidson's interest in architecture led to his role as a Marine combat engineer in Iraq in 2005, his mother said.

"All around he was such a hard worker," she said.

Davidson's funeral is scheduled for Friday in Lemont.

Northrup said no autopsy is planned but said the crash remains under investigation.

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