UNC Mascot Dies After Accident Near Arena

 UNC Tarheels

A 21-year-old University of North Carolina student who served as a mascot for the men's basketball team has died.

Steve Kirschner, U-N-C's associate athletics director for communications, says Jason Ray died at 8:38 a-m. His death comes three days after he was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while walking along a New Jersey highway.

Ray, who dressed up as U-N-C's ram mascot Rameses, had been in critical condition since the accident on Route 4. He had been in New Jersey for the N-C-A-A men's tournament game between the Tar Heels and Southern California at Continental Airlines Arena.

Police say Ray left his hotel to go to a nearby convenience store Friday afternoon, and was walking back along Route 4 when he was struck from behind by an S-U-V. The driver stopped immediately to call 9-1-1. No charges have been filed.

Police say the driver had a valid driver's license and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.