By Bobeth Yates

SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – Grieving family and friends gathered on Sunday to celebrate the life of South Florida teenager Venkata Sai Krishnamurthy, who died when his car plunged into a lake.

Krishnamurthy was a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who loved playing basketball.

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Seventeen-year-old Aden Perry, who was walking with his mom and dog, also died when he witnessed the crash and jumped into the lake to try to save the driver. The 17-year-old good Samaritan was a junior at Western High School.

(CBS4)

The crash took place on April 19 in the Residences of Sawgrass Mills neighborhood along NW 12th Avenue near Silver Palm Boulevard, just north of I-595 around 10:20 p.m.

Sunday’s memorial took place near the lake where the crash took place.

Memorial for Venkata Krishnamurthy held on April 24, 2022. (CBS4)

“He was always the kindest person in the room he was the first person at the court, always the first person looking to play basketball and I’m gonna miss that kid,” said Jason Nicolas, who was close friends with Krishnamurthy.

“He walked into every class we had together with nothing but a smile. He’s brought joy to every single event we;ve been to together, whether it’s going out to Chipotle after school or just hanging out with friends,” added Ryan Wolfe another one of Krishnamurthy close friends.

According to police, he was driving in an area he was unfamiliar with lost control of his car and then plunged into the lake.

Family friend Andres Pizarro told CBS4 News Venkata, known lovingly as ‘Sai,’ had plans to attend Nova University in the fall on a scholarship.

Pizarro said he was on the phone with his father when the crash happened.

“He was trying to get to Taco Bell after a basketball tournament at a Coral Springs gymnasium and they won the championship. He was headed home from that game, and he was hungry, and he was looking for Taco Bell and the navigation took him here,” explained Pizarro. “Saddest part is, he was talking to his dad as he was going into the water, as he lost control, he was talking to his dad so that’s the toughest for any parent.”

Venkata Krishnamurthy’s family at lakeside memorial on April 24, 2022 (CBS4)

His friends say he was a very special person, committed to his studies, and had big dreams.

“Sai was amazing. He was about to graduate high school. A 12th grader at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. He was filled with joy. Everyone who remembered him and got to know him can’t stop talking about his joy. He brought joy everywhere,” said friend Jacob Pizarro.

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Another friend, Matthew Veerasammy, echoed the same sentiments.

Venkata Krishnamurthy (Courtesy: Ryan Wolfe)

”Sai was more than a friend to me, he was a brother,” he said. “We love him so much and that we stand here today to affirm his legacy and memory.”

Part of that legacy will come from a scholarship being set up in his name for excellence in basketball, which was his passion.

Teammates are creating a “Play for Sai” scholarship fund.

“Next year, $66,000 total, representing No. 6 for his rec league jersey number, and every year, there is a $6,000 award or value,” explained Veerasammy who said the scholarship is dedicated to excellence in basketball to help those in low-income communities.

Friend Ryan Wolfe said Sai was very dedicated not only to sports but education as well. “His spirituality was something he shared with everyone as well. His smile was everything. It is now the only thing I can of. His joy, his happiness he brought upon others.”

 

Basketball signed by Venkata Krishnamurthy’s friend at memorial service held on April 24, 2022. (CBS4)

At the service, his friends all signed a basketball with messages of love.

His visitation will be held on Tuesday, April 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fred Hunter Funeral Home located at 6301 Taft Street in Hollywood. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 27 at 9 a.m. at the same location.

Meantime, good Samaritan Aden Perry’s funeral service will be held Monday, April 25 at 4 p.m. at Plantation Baptist Church located at 11700 NW 28th Court in Plantation.

Aden Perry, the good Samaritan who died trying to save Venkata Krishnamurthy when his car crashed into a lake. (Credit: GoFundMe)

In a statement to CBS4, Perry’s family said, “It is difficult to find words to express the deep pain and sorrow we feel after losing our son Aden Perry. However, we are absolutely touched and moved by the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and the community who have reached out to express their condolences. Although Aden’s life ended before we were ready, the time that he spent in our lives was memorable and we will be forever privileged to have had him for as long as we did.”

“Our son made an impact in this world from the day he was born until the last minutes of his life. He came into this world early and left the same way, but it was everything that he did in between that will forever leave an impact on everyone he touched. His quiet demeanor allowed his actions to speak louder than his words. He was caring, selfless, and determined to make a difference, and that he did. Growing up in a family of service was a perfect fit for Aden, as his desire to help people was in his blood. Aden excelled academically at Western High School and was set to graduate at the top of his class. His academic achievements in math and science were a perfect path to reach his goal of becoming a neurosurgeon, a career where he hoped to help so many. We are devastated by this loss, but we find solace in knowing that Aden’s last action was the most selfless act anyone could ever do. Running towards danger while risking your own life is truly the definition of a hero, and that is exactly what he demonstrated to be. There is no question that Aden knew that, and as difficult as it may be to understand, we know he did the right thing.”

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“We are mourning the loss of our son, but we’d like to also extend our condolences to the family of the other young man who also lost his life. A tragic set of events where two young lives converged in the oddest of circumstances, leaving two families in deep pain and sorrow. However, we are grateful and so proud to know that his last selfless act will allow Aden to continue being a hero and sharing his kindness with others in need of education or help. The Aden Perry Good Samaritan and a Scholarship fund has been established in his honor to keep his memory alive by providing educational support to students interested in medicine or science.
We as a family would like to ask for privacy at this time to allow us the opportunity to process this tremendous loss.”