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Hyderabad: Two Telugu youngsters were killed while three of their friends were injured in a car collision on Illinois Route 3 in Union County, United States. The driver of the other car too died in the crash that happened around 4.15 am (EST) on Thursday.

The youngsters, all students of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU), were identified by SIU Chancellor Austin Lane as Vamshi Krishna Pechetty from Bachupally and Pavan Swarna from Khammam. The injured were Kalyan Dorna, Karthik Kakumanu and Yaswanth Uppalapati.

A post from the SIU quoted the Illinois State Police saying the driver of the car, Marie A. Meunier, was travelling southbound on Illinois Route 3 when she crossed the center line and hit the front of the other vehicle.

“Meunier, Pechetty, and Swarna were all pronounced dead at the scene. Dorna, Kakumanu, and Uppalapati were taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries,” it said.

According to a fundraiser initiated on by Rahul Reddy Pesaru on behalf of Shashi Kiran Pechetty, his brother Vamshi Krishna Pechetty “met with a tragic accident on April 21 in Southern Illinois, Carbondale”.

“A car from the opposite direction crashed with our car at a very high speed. In this unfortunate incident, 2 of 5 students lost their lives who were pursuing their Master’s in Computer Science at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Vamshi is one of the passengers sitting behind the driver’s seat,” (Sic) the post said.

The Southern Illinois University posted the following notice on their website:

“We are heartbroken to learn of a tragic car accident that has taken the lives of two members of the Saluki family and injured three others. We send our condolences to the families of Vamshi Krishna Pechetty, a graduate student in computer science, and Pavan Swarna, a graduate student in computer science, and we hope Kalyan Dorna, a graduate student in civil engineering, Karthik Kakumanu, a graduate student in computer science, and Yaswanth Uppalapati, a graduate student in computer science, will heal. We are working to support the families during this incredibly difficult time. Our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team is available to help others who are impacted by this tragedy. Our thoughts and hearts are with these students and their loved ones.”

The University’s Graduate School also held a vigil on Friday.

According to reports, the bodies of Pechetty and Swarna were expected to reach Hyderabad by Monday.

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Author: Howard Caldwell