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Passionate student remembered after fatal accident

Michael Aganas friends remember him as quiet, but confident.

Hundreds of friends, former Plant High School bandmates, members of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity he belonged to and loved ones gathered along Bayshore Boulevard on Monday and Tuesday nights to say their final goodbyes and share their memories of him.

Agana, who was a freshman majoring in engineering, died Tuesday evening. He was held in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital after driving through the balustrade on Bayshore Boulevard into the bay Friday. After doctors said his condition would not improve, Agana was removed from life support.

He was lively and caring, his friends said. He was never mean to anyone. But mostly, they said, his passion for music would light up his eyes.

Jessica Piccioni, a sophomore majoring in business, lived next door to Agana in Beta Hall last year.

He was next door to me and our walls are really thin, she said. He was blasting music and it woke me up in the morning. I thought he was going to be some annoying, typical guy living next to me and I kind of stomped over and knocked on his door, but he opened the door and said he was really sorry. He never played music loud again or anything.

After that, Piccioni said she visited Agana almost every day. Sometimes hed play guitar for her, she said. Other times hed show her how he edited music on his computer.

He was so nice, she said. If I ever needed a ride anywhere, hed always drive me or pick me up.

Piccioni spoke to Agana the week before school let out for the summer and they swapped summer plans. Agana planned to stay at his Bayshore home and take a few classes, she said.

Taylor Ashby, a senior majoring in secondary education, met Agana when he joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Ashby said Agana was getting ready to take a leadership position in his sophomore year. But what stood out to Ashby was his fondness for music.

Michael had a deep appreciation and love for music, Ashby said. Whenever we needed help setting up for music or getting something done to coordinate … an event for music, he would be one of the people wed go to to get the music set up. He always put peoples concerns ahead of him first. So he was always making sure that people were happy and enjoying themselves.

The cause of the Friday accident is still under police investigation and the Hillsborough County Medical Examiners Office announced they would conduct an autopsy later this week.

Agana was driving to his familys home in Bayshore Beautiful after a day spent at Busch Gardens with a friend, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He was alone in his car when it hit the balustrade and went an additional 25 yards into the bay. The vehicle sank one and a half feet below the surface of the bay, which is eight feet deep, Tampa police officer Nick Wilson said.

The vehicle was traveling south on South Boulevard at a high rate of speed, failed to negotiate the turn on Bayshore and crashed through the median and the sea wall, Wilson said.

Four or five civilians and Tampa police officer Mark Barry attempted to rescue Agana, but were unsuccessful. Wilson said Barry took off his gun belt and everything else down to his pants to jump in the water and save Agana. Wilson followed the attempts and was able to pull Agana out of the car by breaking one of the rear windows.

As far as Im concerned, he did all the work for me, Wilson said. He was able to swim out there, locate the car and mark it for me. He had a hold of the victim. Unfortunately, the way the victim was positioned in the vehicle, he was not able to go underwater and pull the victim out.

Wilson said Agana was probably underwater for about 8 to 13 minutes. Once Wilson got Agana to shore, he was taken to Tampa General Hospital.

Nick Rivera, now a student at the Mexico Military Institute, said he first met Agana when the two attended a band camp at the University of Tampa as middle school students. The two shared a passion for percussion and bonded quickly.

He was always interested in playing drums, he said. That was his big thing. He was always interested in talking about music. He mostly liked alternative rock, so we used to always talk about what band we were into or what sets of drums we preferred to play on.

The two stayed in touch and later found out they attended the same church.

We went through confirmation together and took classes together at Sunday school, he said. During Sunday class, we always used to talk to each other.

Rivera last spoke to Agana last year, before he left for Mexico and Agana started at USF. When Rivera logged into his Facebook account on Wednesday, he saw Aganas wall filled with posts of condolences.

I was so confused, he said. I didnt know what was going on. I found the report on the news online. … He was just an overall good guy with good intentions and he wasnt mean or bad towards anyone. He was just open and welcoming to everybody.