Friends of a young German woman killed in a tragic bike crash are to delay their trips home to attend a special memorial service. University student Catrin Schaefer, just 23, had her life cut short in a head-on smash hours after celebrating the end of a research placement at the Bermuda Biological Station. Catrin, who had only been at the station for a week was due to head home to Düsseldorf today. But she became the 12th person to die on Bermuda's roads this year when her rental bike collided with a car being driven by a suspected drink driver early yesterday. Police will continue questioning a 31-year old St. Georges man today. The wreckage sprawled across Kindley Field Road just after 1 a.m. was so horrific that it took some cars more than 2 hours to get through the traffic jams. And road safety campaigners last night called goverment to consider lifetime license bans for drink-drivers involved in accidents.
Now the Biological Station is planning a special memorial service to honour Catrin, who studied genetics and marine science. She had only been in Bermuda for one week, with ten other students from Dusseldorf University on a work study programme. The marine biology students were plunged into shock when news of the tragedy filtered through to them yesterday morning. Police were still at the Wright Hall campus last night, taking statements. Several fellow students have already decided to stay in Bermuda for the service. Biological Station Director Tony Knap said: "BBSR is deeply shocked by this tragic loss. "We were honoured to have Catrin and she was a very bright student. She was sensible, she was a non-drinker and a self-aware young woman.
"Our thoughts are with her and her family and friends."
Station spokeswoman Kathleen Gaffney-Frith said that a memorial service was already planned for this week.
"Many of the students have decided to stay behind for that memorial service, " she said. "We will probably lay a wreath and we are also planting a cedar tree on the property."
Catrin had been out with friends from the 11.strong research trip on the night of her death. She had been drinking only soft-drinks all night -- and had already been described as "nervous and cautious" on her rented moped. Police said she was riding east when she collided with the car near Stone Crusher Corner at the airport. It is also thought that the car may have been on the wrong side of the road. The impact was so fierce that Catrin was thrown from her bike which rebounded into another eastbound car, driven by a 58-year-old St. George's man.
This year has now seen more deaths on Bermuda's roads than any other year in the 1990s. Road Safety Council spokesman George Morton Jr. said last night: " The situation on our roads is becoming very worrisome. "And I'm flabbergasted when you look at the details surrounding this particulary accident. "Obviously, we don't know all the ins and outs. But it's time we thought now about changing the law so that drink drivers involved in accidents, injury or otherwise, can lose their licenses for ever.
" Maybe the public would take drink driving more seriously then."