KAY COUNTY, Okla. — Three University of Oklahoma students died after their SUV hydroplaned on I-35 in Kay County Friday night, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported.
Nicholas Nair, 20, of Denton, Texas and two passengers were heading south on I-35 when their SUV hydroplaned and lost control and left the road and went to the right, troopers said.
The SUV then became disabled and was blocking the outside lane, troopers reported.
A freightliner tractor trailer was also heading south on I-35 when the semi struck the SUV, troopers said.
Nair and his passengers, Gavin Short, 20, of Grayslake, Illinois and Drake Brooks, 22, of Evansville, Indiana were pinned for almost five and a half hours before emergency responders were able to free them, troopers said.
All three men were pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said.
The semi-truck driver was treated and released at a local hospital.
Nair, Brooks and Short were students at the School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, according to their social media channels.
Nair was involved in OU Nightly, a newscast produced and run by students at the University of Oklahoma.
They were in Kansas storm chasing.
One of Nair’s friends, Brayden Saiu, said the three were the most amazing people with a lot of potential.
“Nic, Gavin and Drake. They were a huge part of my life. I spent the majority of my time here with them. Every single day I would see them. Whether that be in class or hanging out their apartment. They’re the people I spent my time with and now they’re gone.”
The University of Oklahoma released a statement about the crash: “The university is devastated to learn of the tragic passing of three students. Each were valued and loved members of our community. At this time, we ask the public to respect the privacy of their families.”
The School of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma also released a statement.
The National Weather Service in Norman dedicated an evening weather balloon launch to the three students.
OU Nightly released a statement on Saturday night.
A GoFundMe was set up for travel and memorial expenses for the affected families.
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