- Athish Nagarajan was driving when his Nissan Sentra was hit by the truck because of brake failure, according to the truck driver.
Parents visiting from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and their two sons based in Arizona were killed in a deadly car crash involving a semi-truck along a Sedona-area highway over the weekend. Athish Nagarajan, 24, of Tempe was driving a Nissan Sentra, along with three passengers — his brother Dhinesh Nagarajan 23, also from Tempe, and their parents, Gnanappan Nagarajan, 53, and Vijaya Lakshmi-Gopal, 45.
Local news reports citing authorities said the family was on their way to visit Sedona when the car they were in was hit by a tractor-trailer that had run a stop sign. Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves told 12News that the driver of the truck told authorities his brakes had failed. Both vehicles went off the road and caught fire, he told the news outlet, adding that the truck landed on top of the family’s car. The truck driver was able to escape uninjured. Troopers confirmed to 12News that impairment was not a factor in the crash. An investigation remains ongoing.
An aspiring singer and musician, Dhinesh Nagarajan was working as a Data Analyst at ARCX Inc., for the past four months, according to his LinkedIn page. Before that he was a part-time resident assistant at Arizona State University. He received his B.S. in Applied Math and his M.S. in Business Analytics from ASU. He graduated in May 2021, his LinkedIn profile says. On his Twitter page, he describes himself as a “music producer that loves performing.” No posts were visible.
His brother, Athish Nagarajan, worked as a global supply manager with lucid Motors for over a year, per his LinkedIn profile. Before that he worked in various roles at ASU, where he got a B.S.E in Industrial Engineering. He graduated in December 2020, his LinkedIn profile says.
Friends of Athish Nagarajan at ASU told 12News that he was “was one-of-a-kind, a talented and smart individual who had big things in store.” His bother, Dhinesh Nagarajan was described by his friends as “genuine, positive and talented.” Lily Rich told the news outlet that “Dhinesh was so selfless.” She said her “memories are so special with him,” adding that her freshman year at ASU “would not have been as amazing if I hadn’t met him.” She said he “made it feel like home to me.”
Similarly, Quinne Talbot told 12News that Dhinesh helped her multiple times with schoolwork and was always someone she could talk with. She said she saw him just a few weeks ago while on campus, “so hearing the news was devastating. It breaks my heart that he’s no longer with us, but he’s watching over us.”