iNDICA NEWS BUREAU-
Two Indian American siblings Arjit Chettupalli, 14, and his 16-year-old sister, Akshata Reddy Chettupalli, met with a tragic ending when a drunk driver crashed into their car killing near on Saturday, Dec. 18 Oakdale, killing them instantly.
The siblings were traveling in a vehicle with their family when it was rear-ended on Lassen Street by a 20-year-old woman, who was allegedly driving under the influence.
Arjit Chettupalli died hours after the crash and Akshata, who was affectionately known as Lucky, was taken off life support on Christmas Day after being pronounced brain dead, according to abc7.com.
Both teens were described as bright, talented, and loving people. The close-knit Indian community in San Fernando Valley has been shaken since the tragedy. The suspect in the crash has been charged with murder.
The consumption of alcohol can greatly diminish a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle and in this crash resulted in the untimely death of Arjit and Chettupalli, who leave behind a grieving family and community.
Investigators say the driver, a 20-year-old woman, was reportedly driving under the influence. She has since been arrested on murder charges.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk driving accidents kill approximately 30 people in the U.S. each day.
Statistics indicate that drunk driving accounted for about 29 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the U.S. Sixty-one percent involved drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher.
An independent investigation will be required to learn other potential factors in the case, including the results of a test or tests to determine the blood-alcohol content of the suspect.
“My kids … there are not enough words to describe,” said Ram Chettupalli, the teens’ father. “My daughter was amazing and my son was, in a simple word, was kind of a human computer. They were very disciplined. They never did a single thing to society. My daughter used to always tell me, ‘Daddy, I don’t know what I will do, but I will do something great for the society.'”
Dozens surrounded the heartbroken parents at Sunday’s vigil, which was held at the crash site.
“Arjit, who was in 8th grade, he was an extremely talented kid,” said a family friend. “My kids and their kids grew up together.”
Akshata was a student leader at North Hollywood High School, and many of her friends came out on Sunday to show their support.
“Lucky was a consistently uplifting spirit and such a hard-working student,” said classmate Enzo Banal. “We knew her from student council. She was the vice president of junior council, and it’s just such a heart-wrenching loss.”
The close-knit Indian community in San Fernando Valley has been shaken since the tragedy, and they hope the siblings’ family finds solace with the help of family and friends.