Just after 2:00am during the early morning hours of Sunday, February 8th, a fiery car accident caused by wrong-way driver resulted in the traffic deaths of four University of South Florida (USF) fraternity brothers on Interstate 275 in Tampa. The collision also claimed the life of the wrong-way driver who crashed into the students on a crest of roadway.
The tragic I-275 crash closed the highway down for close to five hours. The fatal accident occurred a few hundred feet north of Busch Boulevard in the northbound lanes when a White Ford Expedition, traveling south, collided head-on with a 2010 Hyundai Sonata carrying the four male students, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Expedition almost immediately burst into flames, the FHP said, and the Hyundai was torn apart and partly burned. All five vehicle occupants, including two in the Sonata who were wearing seat belts, died at the scene of the crash, troopers noted.
The driver of the Expedition has been identified as 28 year-old Daniel Morris. Investigators have been working to determine whether alcohol or drugs played a role in the crash, troopers said. The driver of the Hyundai was identified as Jobin Joy Kuriakose, age 21, of Orlando, according to the Highway Patrol. The passengers were Ankeet Harshad Patel, age 22, and Dammie Yesudhas, age 21, of Melbourne; and Imtiyaz Ilias, age 20, of Fort Myers.
There will be a memorial service at the USF Tampa campus on Thursday February 13th at 3:30 pm in honor of the students who lost their lives in the accident.