Zach Legg, 21, a senior majoring in criminal science, passed away last week. (photo submitted)

By Darren Zancan

At the beginning of the semester, the campus mourned the death of a student whose vehicle was struck by a train. Just a few weeks later, Eastern was hit with a second tragedy. Senior Zach Legg, 21, was found unresponsive in his Richmond apartment early on the morning of Sept. 23. He was pronounced dead at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, said Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison.

Detective Eric Long of the Richmond Police Department said Legg’s death was ruled to be accidental. A police investigation is continuing, and police said they are still awaiting the result of the toxicity report, which is scheduled to return in a few weeks.

The university has been hit by several student deaths this year, but it never seems to get any easier, said Claire Goode, dean of students.

“This is tough,” Goode said. “This year we’ve had several student deaths, and they seem to come in groups like this. This makes it hard on us. I’ve had a few faculty members that knew him well that were very upset.”

For students, or even entire classes, who want to talk to a counselor, Goode said the university’s counseling center, which is located on the fifth floor of the Student Services Building, will make itself available, even on short notice.

A funeral service for Legg is scheduled for today at 10 a.m. at St. Henry Church, 3813 Dixie Hwy., in Erlanger, Ky. A scholarship fund has been set up through Saint Henry District High School, where Legg attended.

Many students said they’re still trying to cope with their friend’s death,

Robert Rager, who first met Legg two years ago, said Legg could always turn something bad into something good.

“You can talk to him about anything,” Rager said. “He’d drop anything to be with you. He was just that kind of guy.”

They said Legg loved sports and participating in lawn mower derbies. He often traveled to Boone County with his friends to watch lawn mowers crash into each other.

Legg’s friends in his hometown already put together a bumper sticker in his honor.

His friends at Eastern said they have come closer together since his death, reminiscing about certain moments in his college life.

“He was a free spirit like me,” said Chase Tucker, a friend of Legg’s. “He had a fun loving, go get it attitude. No talk was too big or small with him.”

Others remember Legg’s outgoing nature.

“I don’t know how else to describe Zach other than he was always trying to have a good time and was a great guy,” said James Eblen, another friend.

One thing that stuck out to Legg’s friends and family was his love for Eastern and the people around him.

“He absolutely loved Eastern,” said Melodie Legg, Zach’s mother. “It really changed his life.”

For others, they remember Legg’s characteristic way that he concluded every phone call.

“Before he hung up the phone, no matter who he was talking to, the last thing he said was, ‘Love you, bye,'” Tucker said.

Zach standing with his parents Chris and Melodie Legg at his high school graduation. (photo submitted)