Woman killed in crash near University of Minnesota was cancer researcher pursuing career as doctor

Family and an academic colleague have identified the woman who was killed in a two-vehicle crash earlier this month near the University of Minnesota that police suspect involved an intoxicated driver.

Ebony A. Miller, 24, died Nov. 18 at the scene of the collision at SE. 10th and University avenues, her father said in an interview with a newspaper in the Bahamas, where Miller grew up.

Kermit Miller told the Tribune that his daughter was heading to her Minneapolis home from her second job at M Health Fairview hospital as a doctor’s assistant when the crash occurred around 2 a.m.

“I sent her away … to make a better life for herself and even for her family,” Kermit Miller told the newspaper. “She has a brother that adores her, and it’s just tragic.”

Miller said his daughter was a pancreatic cancer researcher at the U who was pursuing a career as a doctor.

Zoe Schmiechen said Miller graduated from Beloit (Wis.) College before joining her in the research lab in the spring of 2021, and “from the first few days in the lab, we knew that Ebony was special and would be an amazing colleague. … She was an extremely hard worker and loved to learn new things. She quickly excelled at anything she learned in the lab and often surpassed her peers.”

Schmiechen said Miller, who became a close friend, was accepted and hoped to join Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C., in the fall “but had to delay due to the lack of financial aid available to international students. She exhibited great strength and determination … trying to find any way possible to afford school.”

Miller’s job in the M Health Fairview emergency room allowed her to gain more experience and save for medical school, Schmiechen said.

“Ebony’s dream was to become an OB/GYN and provide much-needed health care to women in the Bahamas,” Schmiechen said.

Alex Smith, a spokeswoman for the U’s Medical School, said in a statement Monday that “we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Ebony Miller, a researcher at the U of M Medical School who worked to advance the understanding of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. We share our condolences with Ebony’s family, friends and others in the University community who are grieving.”

Courtney Neil, a friend of the family, started an online fundraising campaign on behalf of the family.

“Her loved ones and family remain in the Bahamas and wish to bring her home,” Neil wrote on the GoFundMe web page. “Our goal is to ease the financial hardship of funeral costs in the US and the Bahamas. We want to ensure she is given a ceremony as beautiful and dignified as she was.”

The man driving the other vehicle suffered noncritical injuries and was taken to HCMC for treatment, police said. His identity has yet to be released.

“Impaired driving is a possibility in this crash,” according to a police statement. No arrests or charges were announced as of Monday morning.

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