Local News

November 18, 2012

Love and grief not dimmed by months or miles

PLATTSBURGH — Chu “Allen” Xiong’s parents returned to the North Country from China a year after their only child’s death to visit his grave and reflect on his life.

Chu and his friend Dat T. Ong, were tragically killed when a car struck them on Peasleeville Road in Peru just after 5 p.m. while the two were walking to the store from their host family’s home.

In the car were Brandon Sorrell, 17, and his girlfriend, Samatha Donah, 17; they died as well.

The quadruple fatal was among the worst accidents remembered in the North Country, and there was an outpouring of grief and support as well from around Clinton County for the families of the four teens. 

Dat, from Vietnam, and Chu, from China, were international students at Seton Catholic Central School in Plattsburgh. Brandon was a senior at Peru Central School, and Samantha attended Beekmantown Central.


Xiong Ze and Huang Ke said they will make the long journey from China to each year to visit their son.

For the past year, not a moment has passed when he and his wife haven’t thought of Chu, Mr. Xiong said, with the help of friend and interpreter Lanxiang Hipko of Plattsburgh.

“We miss him every day.”

Everyone who knew Chu loved him, his parents said, sitting in the lobby of Hampton Inn in Plattsburgh.

He often called and emailed them in his two months in Plattsburgh, telling his parents how much he loved attending Seton and how friendly everyone was.

Chu worked hard in school, earned excellent grades and hoped to attend Stanford University in California one day, perhaps to study science or history, Mr. Xiong said.

He wrote the words “great ambition” on a piece of paper to describe his son.

As a person separate from his studies, Chu was an intellectual who would often ponder the human psyche and the meaning of life, Mr. Xiong said. In his spare time, he enjoying playing the trombone, practicing martial arts, drawing comics and spending time outdoors.

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