A Stony Brook University student was killed when a car filled with students collided with a police car at 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 30–the night that Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the East Coast–said a press release by the Suffolk County Police Department.
Vishwaja Muppa, a graduate student studying biology, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner, the press release says. The driver, student Amanpreet Dhaliwal, and three other female passengers were brought to Stony Brook University Hospital.
According to Lieutenant Gail Marrero, who is in charge of investigating the case, there is “no apparent indication of alcohol involvement.”
The crash took place at the intersection of Route 347 and Route 112. Those in the car were on their way back to campus, Marrero said.
He didn’t realize he was in the intersection,” Marrero said. “He didn’t realize he was at 347.”
According to several students, the individuals were returning from a house in Port Jefferson. The passengers had been drinking, a friend of Muppa’s who wished to remain nameless said; the driver said he had not.
Marrero said authorities are still taking statements and gathering evidence, but also said that the accident was storm-related and happened in part because of the bad weather conditions and lack of streetlights.
In a press release, University President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. said that counseling is available for those mourning Muppa’s death.
“On behalf of Stony Brook University, I extend personal and heartfelt condolences to Vishwaja’s family, her friends, her professors and all those who knew her,” Stanley wrote.
Anna Razzaio, a junior business major, said many will be affected by the loss of Muppa. Razzaio met Muppa this semester when she moved into Muppa’s suite.
Muppa lived in a single room, but she and Razzaio bonded.
“Everyone in the suite knew each other besides me, but Vish took me in with open arms and made me feel like we had been best friends forever,” Razzaio said. “She was always there for me and I can say hands-down that she was the most caring and genuine person I’ve ever met.”