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5 killed in wrong way crash in southwest Florida

  • Associated Press
  • February 9, 2014 - 10:06 PM

TAMPA, Fla. — A sport utility vehicle traveling the wrong way on a Florida interstate collided head-on with a sedan early Sunday, killing five people, including four fraternity brothers at the University of South Florida, authorities said.

The accident happened on Interstate 275 in Tampa around 2 a.m. Sunday. The SUV was going the wrong way and hit a Hyundai Sonata, which was carrying four members of the fraternity Sigma Beta Rho. The SUV driver was also killed.

Authorities identified the fraternity brothers as: Jobin Joy Kuriakose, 21, Ankeet Harshad Patel, 22, Imtiyaz "Jim" Ilias, 20, and Dammie Yesudhas, 21. Florida Highway Patrol officials said they were struggling to identify the male SUV driver late Sunday because of extensive injuries from the fire.

University president Judy Genshaft said in a statement the counseling center will be available to help students' struggling with the loss.

"Mere words cannot convey the depth of shock and sadness this terrible event brings to all who knew and cherished these wonderful young men," Genshaft said. "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."

Sigma Beta Rho is planning an on-campus memorial service later in the week.

Authorities said they are investigating the crash.

The highway was closed for several hours following the crash.

© 2014 Star Tribune