Sami Ullah, a 22-year-old senior majoring in business information technology at Virginia Tech, died in a car accident over spring break that left two others seriously injured.
Ullah was home in Northern Virginia over break when he crashed his car early Sunday morning, March 10 while leaving Washington D.C.
Police say Ullah was driving his vehicle over the Key Bridge and had accelerated to around 90 mph. The front driver's side wheel hit the island curb, causing Ullah to lose control of the car. Because of the momentum, the vehicle flipped three times before landing upside down, the roof entirely shorn off.
Arlington Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said two Virginia Department of Transportation workers witnessed the accident and dialed 911 at 4:58 a.m., assisting in emergency medical care and rescuing one passenger from the vehicle. Another passenger was thrown from the car. Both were taken to the hospital and have survived.
Ullah was trapped behind the wheel; he suffered a fatal blow to his head and died at the scene.
Ullah, a Pakastani who moved to the United States with his family before his 10th birthday, was deeply rooted in his faith and was active in the Muslim community in Northern Virginia.
Neeraj Nandanan, a senior finance major, said Ullah was like a brother to him, and he was a person who always put friends and family first.
“It was almost like it was his mission to make sure his friends were happy and smiling,” Nandanan said.
Nandanan also said Ullah was intelligent, a mature and responsible hard-worker, who would refuse to skip class or blow off an assignment. He loved the outdoors, and always wanted to be out and about.
“He hated sitting around,” Nandanan said.
Even though Ullah drove a BMW and a motorcycle sometimes when home, Nandanan was surprised to hear that excessive speed was a factor in the accident, describing Ullah as a cautious and responsible driver, who had never gotten a speeding ticket. Ullah wouldn't even bring his motorcycle down to Blacksburg to drive with Nandanan, who also has one and always urged him to go for rides around the area.
“He's with me all the time where I go now,” Nandanan said, “He'll still be my riding partner.”
Sternbeck said that a toxicology report, which would show whether Ullah had been drinking or using drugs the morning of the accident, could take up to 16 weeks to be completed.
Ullah is one of three Tech students that died over break. Sarah Dugas, a freshman, died March 16 at her home in Virginia Beach and Bryan Baugh, a sophomore International Studies major, died on campus in his dorm room March 7.