Orlando's close-knit Indian Orthodox community is mourning the loss of 21-year-old Jobin Joy Kuriakose, one of four University of South Florida fraternity brothers killed in a horrific head-on car crash near Tampa Sunday.
The Freedom High School graduate attended St. Paul's Orthodox Church of Greater Orlando in Longwood, which primarily serves the Indian Orthodox community. He was an altar boy and a faithful participant in youth and community events, said fellow congregant Saji John.
"He was an excellent person who was dedicated to the community," John said, adding that church members gathered at his parents' home to pray Sunday. "He had lots of dreams and this is very hard news for us."
The men belonged to the Mu Mecca chapter of Sigma Beta Rho, a fraternal organization with roots in South Asia. Killed in the crash were Kuriakose, Dammie Yesudhas, 21, Ankeet Harshad Patel, 22, and Imtiyaz Ilias, 20.
Through an online crowd-funding website, Sigma Beta Rho fraternity brothers launched a campaign to help families lay them to rest.
Less than 15 hours after the deaths, contributors allied to raise $40,000 to help pay for the funerals.
On Monday, the Mu Mecca chapter posted a thank you message, saying, "There are no words to express the emotions felt a at a time like this..."
The four men were in a 2010 Hyundai on Interstate 275 early Sunday morning, a few miles from the USF campus. Video taken by another motorist showed them colliding with a sport-utility vehicle headed in the wrong direction.
The collision ignited a fireball that engulfed the Expedition and partly burned the Hyundai, according to Sgt. Steve Gaskins, an FHP spokesman. They were pronounced dead at the scene, along with the driver of the wrong-way vehicle, a 2001 Ford Expedition.
The Expedition driver was identified Tuesday as 28-year-old Danile Lee Morris. Officials said Morris moved to Tampa recently from St. Clair Shores, Mich. The SUV belonged to a friend he was living with, authorities said.
"State Troopers continue to attempt to determine where Morris entered the interstate and whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash," the Florida Highway Patrol said in a statement. "This crash remains under investigation."