UCSB Student Kills Four in High Speed Crash

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Four people, including two UC Santa Barbara students, were killed by a speeding motorist in Isla Vista Friday night.

David Attias, a UCSB student, struck five pedestrians just a few blocks from the UCSB campus as they were walking to the downtown district at 11 p.m. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Barbara Superior Court tomorrow.

Nicholas Bourdakis and Christopher Divis, both 20 year-old UCSB students, died before paramedics arrived. Elie Israel, 27, a San Francisco resident and Ruth Levy, 20, a Santa Barbara City College student, were also killed instantly.

The fifth victim, Albert Levy, brother of Ruth Levy, is in critical condition at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. He is expected to survive.

Santa Barbara Sheriff officials said Attias was driving well above the 25 mile speed limit when he began "sideswiping cars along the right curb." He struck the five pedestrians who were walking along the parked cars, before coming to stop down the street.

"All five victims were thrown forward, some being knocked out of their shoes and socks," a police statement said.

California Highway Patrol officers, who were first on the scene, have estimated the car was traveling between 50 and 65 miles per hour through the residential area.

Lt. Michael Burridge said Attias refused a field sobriety test at the scene. Burridge said police are awaiting the results of a blood test, which could take four to seven days to process.

Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Charlie Johnson responded to the scene, which he described as "a war zone."

"There was a trail of broken car parts and bodies laying in the streets," Johnson said. "There were dozens and dozens of kids in the street in shock. They were crying and screaming. It was a disaster scene you just wouldn't expect to see."

He said the accident was heard several blocks away, adding that a crowd of more than 100 people quickly gathered at the accident scene.

Several witnesses detained Attias, who attempted to flee the scene, until police arrived, Johnson said.

While Johnson refused to speculate whether the incident was intentional or accidental, he said there was "no evidence of skid marks at all." He also said witnesses reported that Attias yelled, "I am the Angel of Death," when he exited his car.

The police will have to speak with additional witnesses, examine physical evidence and conduct chemical tests before they could determine whether the accident was intentional, Burridge said.

He said it is typical for many pedestrians to be in the streets at night on weekends. In some parts of Isla Vista, there are no sidewalks, he added.

Mel Fabi, a member of the associated students at UCSB, said student organizers are planning a week-long remembrance for the students who died, culminating in a candlelight vigil Thursday night.

"It really hurts because UC Santa Barbara is a really small campus," he said.

Chancellor Henry Yang acknowledged that many students are "stunned and saddened by the loss." He said the flag at Cheadle Hall would fly at half staff in memory of the two students who died.


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