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Friends, schoolmates mourn 3 lives cut short in tragic Alpharetta car crash

BY MEGHANA NAIK

Atlanta, GA, May 20, 2024: Every funeral is a very moving and sad affair. However, this was the first funeral this writer has been to where there were more teenagers in attendance than adults. The Alpharetta High School community is mourning the loss of one of their own. There was a very big turnout at the funeral for Aryan Joshi on Friday afternoon, also attended by the Principal and staff of AHS.

A cricket bat was propped up next to a photo frame that had Joshi’s picture. There was a very long line of mourners waiting to pay their last respects to their close friend.

Aryan Joshi, a well-loved senior, was just over a week from graduation. He was one of three people killed in a car crash earlier this week. The crash happened in the area of Westside Parkway, near Maxwell Road and Hembree Road, around 8 p.m. Tuesday. Five people were in the car, which was returning from a rehearsal event for the upcoming graduation ceremony. Two people were pronounced dead at the scene: 18-year-old Aryan Joshi and 18-year-old Sriya Avasarala.

The next day, on Wednesday, the Fulton County Medical Examiner announced that a third victim of the crash, 18-year-old Anvi Sharma, died at the hospital.

Sriya was a freshman at the University of Georgia studying pre-med, according to records, and was a member of a well-respected dance team at UGA. Anvi Sharma was also a freshman at UGA and a very avid singer. “You were such an amazing dancer, friend, and just a remarkable person to be around,” the dance group members posted on social media to honor Sriya. “Your dancing would always be able to put a smile on someone’s face, your sweet, sweet personality can never be matched, and your loving heart will always be remembered.”

“Anvi’s kindness, enthusiasm, and zest for life made her an irreplaceable part of our community,” the singing group posted online about Sharma. “Anvi had an uncanny ability to light up any room she entered, leaving a lasting impression on everyone she met. We will cherish the countless moments and memories shared with her. Her beautiful voice and the memories we have with her will forever be in the hearts of our members.”

Police identified the survivors of the crash as Rithwak Somepalli, a Georgia State University student who was also the driver. The second person who was injured has been identified as Mohammad Liyakath, who was a senior at Alpharetta High School.

Police said the initial investigation suggests speed was a factor in the crash. Police believe Somepalli lost control, and the vehicle flipped and landed upside-down in the tree line. It’s unclear if Somepalli is facing any charges.

School counselors were available at Alpharetta High School all week to help students deal with this tragic turn of events right before their graduation. The AHS staff sent a letter to parents, reading, in part: “When events such as this happen, youth react in different ways. You may see your child feeling sad, upset, angry, shocked, or numb. For some students, the death of someone they know may remind them of some other loss in their lives. For others, this may be their first encounter with death.”

Teammates of Joshi on Alpharetta High School’s cricket team are expressing their thoughts the best they can and taking to social media to remember their friend. “He was dear to us, a very kind gentleman. Some of us knew him as a peer; some of us were good friends with him; and for some of us, he was family.” Another said, “Aryan Joshi was a wonderful and very caring person who was kind to everyone. He was one of our biggest supporters and part of our AHS cricket team, and his unwavering dedication and sportsmanship were one of the most crucial factors in all our wins,” they said.

They continued: “You will be missed, Aryan. Our condolences go out to Aryan Joshi’s family and the other victims of the crash, Shriya Avasarala, and Anvi Sharma.”

The police said the initial investigation is continuing into a more detailed one. There was a press conference held at the Alpharetta Police Station where they said it was a very tragic loss for three young individuals who had their entire lives ahead of them. The police are very saddened by the situation, given the age of all the deceased, and are taking all possible angles into consideration while investigating this incident thoroughly.

The press conference stressed on strictly maintaining all rules of the road, especially as young drivers, and how it can make a difference in keeping us all safe. The initial police reports suggested that speed was a factor in the crash. Police believe the driver lost control, and the vehicle flipped and landed upside-down in the tree line. It’s not yet officially reported or clear if the driver of the car will also face charges.

Any loss of life is very saddening in an accident, but given the age of the students, it was especially heartbreaking to see the teenagers so numb and distraught from the heartbreak of seeing their friend, who would no longer play cricket with them, or walk on the stage at the graduation on May 23rd, 2024.

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