A memorial service was held for Aslesha Pandit, a freshman computer science major from Nepal, who died on Friday, Dec. 16, due to injuries caused by a car accident.
Pandit was traveling on Thursday, Dec. 15, with Sangam Subedi, a freshman accounting major from Lalitpur, Nepal, and the driver of the vehicle, Shraddha Chand Thakuri, a freshman biology major from Kathmandu, Nepal, and Abhigya Ghimire, a freshman psychology major from Bhaktapur, Nepal.
According to Florida Highway Patrol and media reports, Subedi ran a red light at State Road 79 and State Road 20 in Ebro, Florida, which caused a three-car collision.
Pandit was airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, due to serious injuries, and the other three passengers were treated at Bay County Medical Center in Panama City, Florida.
Pandit was pronounced dead on Friday, Dec. 16.
The service held in HAL Hall on Monday, Jan. 30, was filled with memories of Pandit that honored her life.
Rojan Maharjan, a freshman computer science major from Kathmandu, Nepal, said that Pandit was “a great friend” who looked for opportunities.
“We must cherish our memories of her and support her family,” Maharjan said.
Nischal Aryal, a sophomore computer science and mathematics major from Kathmandu, Nepal, described Pandit’s habits as a student and her daily routine.
“Aslesha was a planner,” Aryal said. “She even planned how to take her notes.”
Aryal also said that Pandit was a dreamer.
“She wore a dreamcatcher around her neck, she had a dreamcatcher in her room and believe me, her phone case had a dreamcatcher print on the back,” Aryal said. “But sadly she wasn’t able to catch her dreams.”
Thakuri was Pandit’s roommate, and she described Pandit’s personality.
“She was carefree and fun-loving,” Thakuri said. “I hope wherever she is, she is in a better place.”
Joe McCall, Troy University senior history lecturer, said that he did not personally know Pandit, but he had the opportunity to meet her father when he came to the United States.
McCall recounted the experience that he and Pandit’s father shared at the site of the car accident. There was a store on the corner of the intersection where the accident occurred, and the two of them took pictures from the scene.
A woman named Shelly came out from the store who said she was the first one to the scene who helped the trapped students get out of the vehicle.
“Shelly came out and before she even reached us, she started to cry,” McCall said. “She went up to Mr. Pandit and put her arms around him and said, ‘I was the first person to get to the car.’
“The first thing Mr. Pandit asked Shelly was if she offered water to his daughter,” McCall said.
McCall said when Shelly told Mr. Pandit that she offered water, it seemed to comfort him, as water is offered to everyone in pain, especially during extreme conditions, to comfort them, and for a smooth journey of the spirit from their body according to the Hindu culture.
Shelly told them that she held Pandit in her arms and that she would never forget her.
“She will be like an angel to me,” Shelly said.
McCall also shared a letter from Pandit’s father that told of his family’s tragedy, and thanked those at Troy for their help and support.
“I would once again like to thank you all,” the letter read. “We are extremely shocked at the untimely death of our daughter.”
McCall said that he and the university administration will be creating a permanent place and marker on the campus to establish Pandit’s memory.