Tampa crash that killed 5 still under investigation
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 10, 2014 at 2:15 p.m.
TAMPA — Florida Highway Patrol troopers say they're trying to determine what entrance a driver took on Interstate 275 to end up going the wrong way and crashing into a car carrying four University of South Florida students.
All five died in the Sunday morning crash.
The crash claimed the lives of Jobin Joy Kuriakose, 21, of Orlando, Ankeet Harshad Patel, 22, of Melbourne, Imtiyaz Ilias, 20, of Fort Myers, Dammie Yesudhas, 21, of Melbourne and the unidentified driver of the 2001 Ford Expedition that crashed head-on into them.
The Tampa Tribune (http://bit.ly/1bjrABo) reports the driver of the wrong-way car has not yet been identified because the body was so badly burned in the crash.
"We are working with the medical examiner's office to positively identify who he is, though it might take medical and dental records," Florida Highway Patrol Sergeant Steve Gaskins said.
Toxicology tests, which will determine if the drivers were impaired, also take six to eight weeks, he said.
Investigators are also piecing together the wrong-way driver's route.
"We do not know where he came on the interstate," Gaskins said. "He may have turned around in the median. We can say with some level of certainty that he was going the wrong way for at least a mile or two, at least."
Video feeds from interstate entrance and exit ramps do not record, he said. They are for observing real-time traffic conditions only, so traffic homicide investigators don't have videotape from the highway cameras to watch.
The four students were all members of USF's Sigma Beta Rho fraternity. A call for donations for the families of the students raised nearly $50,000 in just two days. Two of the students were from Melbourne, and the others were from Orlando and Fort Myers.
The fraternity will hold a remembrance ceremony on Thursday at USF.
A donation site was linked by the USF Alumni Association Facebook page. The fund, set up by Sigma Beta Rho national president Mohsin "Rhythmk" Hussain, saw a steady stream of donations offered, from $5, up to single donations of up to hundreds of dollars.
"It is unimaginable what the families must be going through right now," said the message on the donation website. "As we all work through this difficult time, it is important for us to come together and form a support net for the family.
"We are asking all of our family, friends, Greek community members, and associates help by donating as much as they can. Every little bit counts."