Friends, family and members of the USF community mourned in the aftermath of the fatal head-on collision on I-275 that killed four USF students early Sunday morning.
The crash occurred around 2:12 a.m. when a 2001 Ford Expedition driving into oncoming traffic collided into a Hyundai Sonata in the center northbound lane. All five individuals in the cars were killed, including the passengers of the Hyundai, who were Sigma Beta Rho fraternity brothers.
Dammie Yesudhas, known as “Brother Netflix,” was a 21-year-old majoring in mechanical engineering. Imtiyaz “Jim” Ilias, known as “Brother Rodnac, was a 20-year-old majoring in health sciences. Ankeet Patel, known as “Brother Facetious,” was a 22-year-old majoring in finance. Jobin Kuriakose, known as “Brother Ambition,” was a 21-year-old majoring in political science.
Their friends, many of whom gathered near Busch Boulevard late Sunday evening to place flowers at the site of the accident, remember them as men who were going places.
“They were so young,” Joseph Oibo, a graduate student in biomedical science and a friend and fraternity brother of the four, said. “They still had the world to see. … We’re trying to make sense of everything going on.”
Oibo said the men were fun to be around, and said he hopes the campus will remember their smiles.
“These are four fellow Bulls,” he said. “They were best friends, boyfriends, friends. Even if you didn’t know who they were, you probably knew someone who knew them. … They were great men. They were great to be around.”
Mohsin “Rhythmk” Hussain, the national president of the Sigma Beta Rho fraternity, created an online gofundme.com page to raise $40,000 to help the families of the deceased cover the expenses of laying the four to rest. At the time of print, the site had collected $27,531.
USF President Judy Genshaft and Dean for Students Michael Freeman released a statement on the USF website and Dean for Students Facebook page Sunday afternoon, referring students who may be affected to the USF Counseling Center and faculty and staff to the Employee Assistance Program.
“Mere words cannot convey the depth of shock and sadness this terrible event brings to all who knew and cherished these wonderful young men,” the statement said. “Our hearts are heavy at the loss of such bright, energetic and optimistic young people who had promising futures ahead of them; to have their lives cut tragically short betrays our sense of fairness and security. Now is the time when our faith and the support of those closest to us can sustain us, and should in tribute to their spirit of friendship and brotherhood.”
An active police investigation is ongoing.
A vigil for the men will be held Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center, Oibo said.