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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Drunk driver kills UF student, injures two others at bus stop, police say

<p>Karan Khullar (Photo via Facebook)</p>

Karan Khullar (Photo via Facebook)

A UF student was killed and two others were injured Saturday night after a drunk driver hit them at a bus stop, police said.

Karan Khullar, a 22-year-old who immigrated to Gainesville from India last month, was standing at the stop in front of Campus Club Apartments with a group of friends at about 9:30 p.m. when the driver, 23-year-old Damaris Guerrero Garcia, sped onto the sidewalk and struck him, along with two others, according to a sworn complaint.

Garcia, an Ocala resident, was driving drunk on Southwest 37th Boulevard when she approached a curved stretch of road near the 4000 SW 37th Blvd. apartment complex, misjudged it and drove off the roadway, striking Khullar and launching him several feet, wrote Gainesville Police spokesperson Officer Ben Tobias in an email.

Khullar was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital with significant head trauma and was later pronounced dead in the emergency room. The other students injured in the crash, Nikhil Singh and Saurabh Prasad, were taken to the hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. They are both listed as students in UF’s online directory.

The friends were waiting for the Later Gator F to go to Midtown when the speeding white Hyundai barreled into Khullar, a computer engineering student, Singh said in an interview following his release from the hospital.

“It was very fast,” Singh said. “Next thing I remember, Karan was lying just 3 feet away from us, and he was heavily bleeding, and his face was covered in blood.”

Singh, whose feet were run over by the car, said he immediately began placing pressure on Khullar’s injuries to stop the bleeding. Police officers and an ambulance arrived within minutes.

It wasn’t until Singh arrived at the hospital that he found out Khullar didn’t make it. It would have been Khullar’s first semester at UF, but his last as an undergraduate.

“One of the nicest guys I knew,” Singh said, adding that Khullar was very punctual, religious and studious. “He doesn’t drink, smoke — nothing.”

Garcia fled the scene of the crash, but Florida Highway Patrol found her about 20 minutes later when she was reported for recklessly driving southbound on Interstate 75, Tobias wrote. Debris found at the scene of the crash matched parts of her car.

After being stopped in Marion County, Garcia’s blood alcohol content was recorded to be .147 and .139 — nearly double the legal limit. She told an FHP trooper she did not know what she hit.

Authorities took her to the Marion County Jail, charging her with a count of DUI manslaughter, two counts of DUI with injury and one count of leaving the scene of a crash involving death, according to the sworn complaint.

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Garcia is expected to be extradited to Alachua County in the future, Tobias said.


Karan Khullar (Photo via Facebook)

Guerrero G. Damaris

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