“I literally saw Ricky probably less than a week ago in my apartment, and now he is not here anymore,” said Chelsey Kovach, a fifth-year in strategic communication and women’s studies. “(He) was like the nicest guy ever, I don’t think anyone would have a bad thing to say about Ricky.”
Ricky, a 21-year old Ohio State student whose given name is Ka-Hei Fok, was pronounced dead at the scene of a car accident Monday in Clinton Township, N.J. A second OSU student involved in the accident, 20-year-old Ho Kai Jeffrey Au Yeung, died around 6 p.m. Tuesday, said N.J. State Trooper Christopher Kay.
Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for student life, released a statement Wednesday on behalf of the university.
“The entire Ohio State community is deeply saddened by the recent passing of two of our students, as well as the injuries to three other,” Adams-Gaston wrote. “We extend our deepest sympathy to their families and friends during this difficult time. The accident’s impact is far-reaching, and the university has many resources to support all students as well as families that have been directly affected.”
Au Yeung was life-flighted to the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital in New Jersey. where he died one day after sustaining life threatening head injuries from the accident. Fok was not wearing a seatbelt, Kay said.
Three other international OSU undergraduate students were also involved in the accident. Two females are listed in stable condition at local hospitals and the driver has been released from medical care.
Both 19-year-old Xinyue Zhang from mainland China and 20-year-old Hennis Han Ling Tung from Malaysia are in stable condition. One is located at the Robert Woods Johnson Hospital and the other is staying at the Morristown Memorial Hospital.
Kovach is best friends and roommates with Ling Tung, who sustained a broken arm and head injuries from the accident.
“(The doctors) said she’s probably not going to remember the accident at all,” Kovach said. “So she probably doesn’t even know what happened at this point.”
The driver, 19-year-old Ho Wo Tam, was released from the hospital the day after the accident. He was listed in stable condition with non-life threatening injuries. All three male passengers were from Hong Kong, China, Kay said.
Police suspect fatigue as the cause of the crash. Investigators believe the driver fell asleep around 4 p.m. on Interstate 78, where the 2012 Chevy Equinox was found crashed into a cluster of trees near the Pennsylvania border in Hunterdon County, N.J. The students were traveling back to Ohio for school after celebrating New Year’s Eve in New York City, Kovach said.
The families of the involved passengers have been notified of the accident and police are still investigating the details of the crash.
“I can’t believe it happened,” Kovach said. “I guess it just makes you realize how short life really is.”