Van Headed To North Carolina Crashes Killing 1, Injuring 7

A van carrying a Temple University dance team to a competition in North Carolina crashed in southern Virginia early Saturday, killing one student and injuring seven others, police said.

Kammini Ragoopath, 21, of Lansdale, Pa., died after the van veered off Interstate 85 and hit a guardrail in Dinwiddie County, according to Virginia State Police.

Manisha Modi, a passenger who said she broke part of her jaw and collarbone, called the crash "a freak accident."

"There wasn't anything that was out of control or irresponsible," Modi, 19, said from the hospital. "There's no one to blame."

The driver, Bilal Badruddin, 20, of Cranford, N.J., was charged with reckless driving.

Fatima Pervaiz, 20, whose hometown was not available, suffered serious injuries and was flown to a Richmond hospital. Badruddin, Modi and four other passengers were taken to a Petersburg hospital with minor injuries.

Ragoopath, a sophomore kinesiology major, and Pervaiz were not wearing seat belts, police said.

"The loss of a member of our community is never easy, and the sudden death of one of our students is particularly heartbreaking," Temple President Ann Weaver Hart said in a statement Saturday.

The Bhangra dance team, which performs traditional Indian dances, was traveling to Durham, N.C., for Saturday's Virsa Punjab Da, or Heritage of Punjab, competition.

The team from Temple, in Philadelphia, was about 300 miles into the 400-mile trip when the accident happened. Eight of the club's 11 members made the trip, Modi said.

Temple was scheduled to perform as an exhibition team, not part of the main competition, said event co-chairwoman Tiffany Saini, a junior at North Carolina State University.

"We're really sorry. Nobody ever expects these things to happen," Saini said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Temple University and all the friends and family involved."

Saini said the event, sponsored by North Carolina State's Sikh Student Association and the Delta Sigma Iota fraternity, would go on as scheduled at the Carolina Theatre.

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  • by Rutu Location: Temple University on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:28 AM
    She was born in Philadelphia but her parents moved here from Trindad years ago. She was captian of the Temple University Bhangra team and they were on their way to a competition in North Carolina. She was filled with energy and was the most lovable and friendly person anyone would ever meet.
  • by Dee Location: va on Feb 28, 2010 at 12:25 AM
    First of all, blessings to everyone involved and affected by this tragedy. @B: This dance team attends Temple University, which is a college.
  • by Ellie Mae Location: Bev. Hills on Feb 27, 2010 at 10:16 PM
    Jethro, you are right on brother. Sikh is a religion from India. It looks like they may be from "India" or at least their parents were. It's never good when folks don't wear seatbelts and have an accident. Feel sorry for all involved.
  • by B Location: nc on Feb 27, 2010 at 06:24 PM
    It's sad someone lost their life, Who are they? They have their own collage? Temple?
  • by Jethro Bodine Location: New Bern on Feb 27, 2010 at 05:10 PM
    Was this an American team? Sounds more like a team from India or Pakistan to me. Kammini Ragoopath?

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