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Family, friends celebrate the life of IU student 1 year after hit-and-run death

Posted at 10:21 PM, Sep 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-17 23:28:39-04

BLOOMINGTON — Family members and loved ones gathered at Indiana University to remember the life of Nate Stratton.

20-year-old IU Junior Nathaniel Stratton was riding an electric scooter in the early morning hours of Sept. 18, 2022.

He was struck by a drunk driver at the intersection of North Walnut Street and East 12th Street.

Nate was taken to a local hospital after the crash but died from his injuries. The driver, 22-year-old Madelyn Howard of Crown Point, was later arrested in connection with his death.

A crash report says Howard was driving anywhere from 50-70 miles per hour when she hit Stratton.

RELATED: Family of IU student killed in hit-and-run seeking justice (

Nate’s family and closest friends spoke at Sunday’s vigil.

“Our family has come into town first and foremost to celebrate his life because it’s damn worth celebrating,” Ceci Stratton, Nate’s older sister, said.


Nate’s friends and family say he was supportive and always able to put a smile on their faces.

“Nate was just absolutely hilarious. He was the best little brother,” Ceci said. “At any family event, I could count on him. There were always jokes at the dinner table. He was a supportive friend and family member.”

RELATED: Indiana University encourages students to utilize mental health services (

According to court records, Howard’s blood alcohol concentration was .226, almost three times the legal limit of .08.

Ceci says although today was about honoring her brother, the Stratton family also wants to raise awareness about driving under the influence and how one poor decision can shatter lives forever.

“There are no excuses for what’s happened here. My family faces the consequences of her actions every day,” Ceci said. “We have to endure the enormous amounts of pain on the daily as we traverse through holidays and family celebrations. Celebrations have turned into a reflection on what it would be like if he was still here.”


Nate’s family says they hope Howard is held accountable.

“It’s only by doing this that drunk driving is going to be diminished in this country. People don’t see it as criminal, they see it as an accident,” Ceci said. “This was not an accident. It was a conscious decision that ended up killing my brother.”

Nate’s parents, Brad and Elizabeth, also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Howard and Kilroy’s Sports Bar.

The lawsuit states they are seeking reimbursement for medical, hospital, funeral and burial costs.

Howard’s next court appearance is a Pretrial Conference scheduled for Dec. 18.

A jury trial has been set for Feb. 26, 2024.