Two Indian students were killed in a hit-and-run accident in South Nashville, Tennessee on Thanksgiving night, authorities said.
Judy Stanley (23), and Vybhav Gopisetty (26) were graduate students of the Tennessee State University (TSU) and were pursuing food science degrees in the College of Agriculture, the university said.
The university students have raised more than $42,000 for their last rights and funeral in India through a GoFundMe page.
According to local police, Stanley and Gopisetty died in an apparent hit-and-run incident on November 28 at night. Stanley was seeking a Master’s degree, while Gopisetty was studying for a doctorate, the university said in a statement.
David Torres (26), the owner of the GMC pickup truck involved the double-fatal crash on Nolensville Pike near Harding Place, surrendered before the police, Metro Nashville Police Department said on Sunday.
“Torres would not answer questions. Officers took a DNA sample. Investigation continuing,” the police said. According to the police, Torres’ vehicle crashed into a Nissan Sentra in which the two Indian students were travelling.
The pickup truck was speeding and ran a red light when it hit the passenger side of the Sentra, witnesses said, according to ABC-affiliate News 9. The car went off the road and through a fence before slamming into a tree on Walmart property.
Stanley and Gopisetty succumbed to injuries and their families have been notified, police said, adding that Torres ran away from the scene. According to eyewitness Louis Mireles, he was walking to the bus stop when he heard it happen and saw the GMC driver run away from the scene.
Bharat Pokharel, Associate Professor at the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture said that the students were “humble, innocent, and hardworking” with a “prosperous future”.
“I could not believe what had happened to the lives of these two young energetic scientists, he said in a Facebook post.
Sharath Julakanti of the food science club at TSU has created the GoFundMe page.
According to the page, Vybhav Vipul Sudhir Gopisetty landed in Nashville with a dream to shine in the field of food science and completed his Master’s with excellent scores and four publications in international journals.
“Judy Stanley came from a middle-class financial background. She was a girl with a positive attitude and hardworking in nature. She was passionate about helping poor people by participating in various volunteering and fund-collecting programs, but finally a situation has risen, where we are now collecting funds for her funeral,” the page says.
“We kindly request everyone to support them for their funeral which is to be held at India,” it added.