In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 21, a tragic two-vehicle accident near St. Louis claimed the lives of three Eastern Illinois University students. Those pronounced dead at the scene were Anusha Anumolu, Anitha Lakshmi Veerapaneni and Priya Darshini Muppavarapu, all master's degree candidates in technology and all international students from India.
Also killed in the accident was Miss Veerapaneni's cousin, who lived in northern Illinois. In addition, Miss Veerapaneni's fiancé and driver of the vehicle in which the five young people were traveling, was injured. At last report, the Ballwin, Mo., resident was listed in fair condition.
"We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of these young ladies," said spokesperson Vicki Woodard. "Their deaths are a tremendous loss to the EIU community.
Personnel from International Programs and the EIU Counseling Center met early in the week with the victims' friends and fellow international students to answer questions, assist with the grieving process and to discuss plans for a group memorial trip to St. Louis before the bodies are returned home to India.
That trip took place Wednesday, March 25.
The bodies of the three EIU students and Satya Chinta (Miss Veerapaneni's cousin) were scheduled to be returned to their families in India by this weekend. The cost to do so is about $60,000.
Donations are being collected by the St. Louis-based Telugu Association of North America. Those wishing to help may make online donations by clicking here.
The EIU Counseling Center will continue to make its services available for those in need of them. In addition, those with questions for International Programs should call 217-581-2321.