A University of Wisconsin-Madison student was killed and her high school sweetheart critically injured early Thursday when the car they were in was struck by an SUV fleeing Milwaukee police.
Shanica Adkins, 21, a senior majoring in social work, was on her way back home to see her family when the car driven by her boyfriend was struck about 2:30 a.m. at N. Sherman Blvd and W. Center St.
Adkins had been home since Dec. 22 but went back to Madison on Wednesday afternoon to take care of personal business, said her mother, Kimberly Wade.
Adkins and her boyfriend, identified by Wade as Donta Brown, graduated from Bradley Tech High School in 2006, Wade said.
"I would describe her as anything you can ask for in a daughter," Wade said.
"Shanica was sweet and caring, the ultimate role model," she said. "She was the oldest, and I wanted all her siblings to follow in her footsteps."
According to Wade, Milwaukee police and a Milwaukee County medical examiner's report:
About 2:30 a.m., officers tried to pull over a Mercury Mountaineer at W. Center and N. 35th streets. The vehicle was missing its front license plate.
The vehicle fled, and officers initially pursued it but then stopped.
A short time later, the officers saw that the westbound SUV had run a red light at Center and Sherman and had struck the westbound Geo Prizm being driven by Brown.
The driver and a passenger of the SUV fled, but the driver was arrested a short time later. The passenger was still being sought by police late Thursday.
Adkins was pronounced dead at the scene, and Brown was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he was in critical condition.
An excellent student
Adkins, called "NicaBoo" by her friends, is survived by three sisters and one brother.
She was raised on Milwaukee's north side and was an A student from elementary school through high school, her mother said.
"She was very driven," Wade said. "I didn't really have to force her or encourage her."
While in high school, Adkins enrolled in ROTC and worked with children as a volunteer tutor. In college, she began cooking, calling her mother frequently for tips, Wade said.
"We'd be back and forth on the telephone two, three times a day," she said.
"She'd call and ask 'How do you make this?' and I would give her lessons over the phone.
"Then she'd call me back for the next step."
Her daughter was planning on becoming a social worker after graduation in May.
While in Madison, she was an intern, working with the developmentally disabled, Wade said.
Adkins brought gifts for her family when she came home for Christmas, and they spent time playing Monopoly, watching movies and talking. She baked a caramel cake for her mother and helped her with Christmas dinner, Wade said.
"Whatever I needed her to do she was right there," Wade said. "I was really fortunate to have that time with her."
Tom Kertscher of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.