A University of North Texas student who was a designated driver on New Year’s Eve died Friday after being shot while behind the wheel, police said.
Sara Mutschlechner, 20, was taken off life support Friday evening at Denton Regional Medical Center, a police spokesman said.
She was found by officers about 2 a.m. Friday in the 1700 block of North Elm St., lying outside the sedan she had been driving.
The car had crashed into an electric pole, said officer Shane Kizer, a police spokesman.
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Witnesses told police that a black Lexus SUV occupied by “five or six black males” drove up next to the sedan and “several words were exchanged” between people in both vehicles, Kizer said. As the two vehicles crossed University Drive, someone in the SUV fired at Mutschlechner, police said.
She was struck in the head, and the car hit another vehicle before crashing. The SUV fled, police said.
Candlelight vigil is planned for 8 p.m. Saturday at the campus Greek Life Center.
Police were still looking for the SUV on Friday.
“We’re following up on some leads, but we can’t release a suspect’s name at this time,” Kizer said.
One female passenger in Mutschlechner’s car was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Two other adult passengers were not injured.
Witnesses told police that at least two of the men in the SUV were at a New Year’s Eve party on Crisoforo Drive early Friday. Denton police provided this poster for the party:
Mutschlechner was a junior at UNT, a school spokeswoman said. She was majoring in radio, television and film with a minor in theater.
She was also a member of the Zeta sorority, a sorority sister, Taylor Phillips, said Friday night.
Mutschlechner “wasn’t a typical sorority girl,” Phillips said.
She had a “wide array of friends” across campus and a wide range of interests, Phillips said. She had earned a black belt in taekwondo and wanted to open her own martial arts gym one day, Phillips said.
“She was an artist in many ways,” Phillips said.
Phillips said Mutschlechner was driving friends home from a fraternity party when the shooting occurred Friday. Phillips wasn’t sure if it was the same party police said the men in the SUV had attended.
A candlelight vigil is planned for 8 p.m. Saturday at the campus Greek Life Center.
Can you help?
Anyone with information about the shooting or the occupants of the SUV is asked to contact investigator Eric Beckwith at 940-349-7974.