According to Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins, all four victims and the driver of the SUV died at the scene. University officials identified the victims in the Hyundai as Jobin Joy Kuriakose, 21; Ankeet Harshad Patel, 22; Imtiyaz “Jim” Ilias, 20; and Dammie Yesudhas, 21. University President Judy Genshaft said in a statement “Our hearts are heavy at the loss of such bright, energetic and optimistic young people who had promising futures ahead of them; to have their lives cut tragically short betrays our sense of fairness and security…Now is the time when our faith and the support of those closest to us can sustain us, and should in tribute to their spirit of friendship and brotherhood.”
After the accident, the highway was closed for several hours. It was re-opened at 7 a.m. The accident is still under investigation.
Wrong-way crashes are not a common type of car accident, the fatality rate is high. According to a 2012 report by the National Transportation Safety Board, wrong-way collisions are 27 times more fatal than other types of accidents. The report also showed that in 60 percent of deadly wrong-way collisions, alcohol was a factor. Additionally, the NTSB found that 15 percent of wrong-way crashes involve drivers over the age of 70. The main source of wrong-way movements is entering an exit ramp. The report noted that “Other mechanisms resulting in wrong-way movement include making a U-turn on the mainline or using the emergency turnaround through the median.”
According the NTSB report, 78 percent of wrong-way collisions happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. A disproportionate number of them happen over the weekends, and the majority take place in the lane closest to the median.