UTD alumni killed in freeway hit-and-run
Marco SalinasMercury Staff
POSTEDMarch 13, 2019
Police still searching for suspect who fled scene on foot
Two UTD alumni were killed Sunday morning in a hit-and-run on the Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway that killed one and injured two others.
According to the Dallas Police Department, Hieu Minh Doan, Christopher Pham and David Nguyen had stopped on Interstate 635 to change a flat tire on their Toyota vehicle early Sunday morning when they were struck by a pickup truck, killing the three. The two occupants inside the Toyota were injured and hospitalized. Both Doan and Pham attended UTD. Doan graduated in 2018.
Dallas PD officials said they were able to identify 32-year-old Jesus Chavarria-Vasquez as the suspect by speaking to his teenage son, whom police said Chavarria-Vasquez abandoned at the crash scene while fleeing on foot.
Psychology senior Ia Echiverri had known Doan since they met in high school and said she had trouble believing the news.
“In my head, I just didn’t believe it and I kept thinking, ‘Was I hearing the name right? Is it the same Hieu that I’m thinking it is?’” Echiverri said. “I honestly didn’t even know what to think.”
Friends launched Facebook fundraisers for Doan, Pham and Nguyen, each of which has since raised over $15,000.
Ola Babatunde, a computer science junior, said he met Doan around 2013 and had spoken to Doan two days before his death.
“Hieu impacted a lot of people,” Babatunde said. “(He was) a little quirky. He always gave off a certain type of energy that anytime I was with him, I was having a good time. He’s a really positive person.”
Babatunde said he wants to see justice for the deaths and injuries.
“At first I was very mad, since I think it was very cowardly for (the suspect) to leave the scene like that, especially leaving his…son in the passenger seat,” Babatunde said. “I’m not mad at him — I just want him to serve the justice that he deserves since he made an impact (on) the three victims plus the other lives that can’t be fixed.”