We are heartbroken over the horrific crash on Interstate 275 in Tampa early Sunday that killed five people — four of whom were University of South Florida students and fraternity brothers in a service-oriented fraternity that works to better the lives of children and others.
We mourn for Jobin Joy Kuriakose, 21, of Orlando, Ankeet Harshad Patel, 22, of Melbourne, Imtiyaz Ilias, 20, of Fort Myers, and Dammie Yesudhas, 21, of Melbourne, described as “wonderful young men” by USF President Judy Genshaft. And we mourn for their families, friends and Sigma Beta Rho fraternity brothers.
What possessed the driver of the 2001 Expedition to travel in the wrong direction on the interstate wasn’t known Monday afternoon. The Florida Highway Patrol was still investigating and also trying to identify the sport utility vehicle’s driver in the fiery collision in the northbound lanes just north of Busch Boulevard.
We cannot even begin to imagine the terror the students must have felt when they saw the Expedition, a heavy vehicle, traveling toward them and their much smaller Hyundai Sonata.
Tragedies are common on our roads, but this sudden loss of four young men of such promise has hit the community particularly hard.
Perhaps this tragedy will encourage the tens of thousands of Tampa Bay area residents who travel the interstates and other major highways daily to reflect on their driving habits and become more cautious, courteous and aware.
The crash is a gut-wrenching reminder of how quickly life can end, and in ways that defy common sense.