Students and University officials have reacted to the recent death of a UT student by urging that students display greater alcohol safety.
In the early morning hours of April 20, 22-year-old Andy Wang, an advertising senior from Katy, was returning from a night downtown on the E-Bus when he lost his balance and fell under the wheels of the bus as it was departing. According to the Austin Police Department and witnesses, Wang was intoxicated at the time and had to be supported by his friend as he exited the bus. The accident happened at 1300 Crossing Place at approximately 2 a.m. on Friday, said Sgt. David Daniels. Wang was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital and pronounced dead soon after the accident.
Misty Whited, spokeswoman for Capital Metro, said Aniceto Cortes, the operator of the bus during the accident, tested negative for drugs and alcohol immediately following the accident. Cortes was put on paid administrative leave at the time, although he will be returning to work Wednesday. Whited said prior to this January there had never been a fatal accident involving a Cap Metro bus. Whited said Cap Metro is still investigating the accident, although APD has not charged Cortes for any offense. Veneza Aguinaga, an APD officer, said Austin police officers are still investigating the incident as well.
Jessica Chung, psychology and public relations junior and social chair of the Texas Advertising Group at UT, said Wang’s death was a tragedy for all who knew him, including the advertising students who were his friends. She also said Wang’s accident illustrates the potential problem of people, especially students, becoming too intoxicated to control their bodies and stay safe.
“No one should have to pass like this,” Chung said. “[I hope this story] sheds some light on college drinking issues.”
UTPD Officer Darrell Halstead said all too often UT students have a laid-back attitude towards alcohol consumption. He said alcohol consumption can be a slippery slope that can lead to excessive and dangerous drinking.
“Sometimes students begin to assume that they have built up a tolerance to the alcohol and they become oblivious to how much they are actually drinking,” Halstead said. “That can become really dangerous. However, it is even more dangerous when people get in the mind-set that bad things only happen to other people.”
Halstead said students should be cautious and prepare before they go out to drink.
“I’d encourage all students to have a game plan before they go out,” Halstead said. “Make sure that your plan includes several sober friends — more than one. Make sure that everyone you are out with is on the same page. If you are going to drink, stick to the minimum not the maximum and try to spread out the number of drinks you have over the entire night.”
Halstead said he hopes this incident encourages students to think seriously about their drinking habits and to make lasting changes.
Fellow advertising senior Alyssa Doffing said she knew Wang from class. Doffing said she had been struck by how friendly Wang was.
“Andy was a really great guy — very outgoing and fun to be around,” Doffing said. “What a terrible accident he was involved in. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the bus driver.”
Printed on Friday, April 27, 2012 as: UT reacts to death of student struck by a bus