Ravi Nair, a 23-year-old Indian American man from New Jersey was among three killed in a crash involving a van carrying 13 people and a truck towing a cattle trailer on state Highway 287 in Bernards Township, N.J., on November 28. Ravi Naik of Hillsborough, N.J. is being remembered by his friends as a lively spirit and dedicated to his parents and family. His former classmate at Hillsborough High School Dharmin Desai told nj.com Naik was a friendly man who brought people together.
Ravi Naik had pulled his 2013 Hyundai Elantra to the shoulder of the northbound side of Highway 287 after his car, carrying two other passengers, hit the cattle trailer being towed by the Dodge Ram at about 10:30 p.m. Nov. 28.
The driver of the Ram truck, Troy Chase, had been pulled over to the shoulder to repair the trailer he was towing when Naik struck it, though none were injured in the crash.
Naik got out of the car after the accident when a 2003 Ford passenger van, driven by Xu Feng Ma and carrying 12 other people struck the guardrail on the northbound shoulder, then hit the trailer, truck, the Elantra and then Naik before it swerved from the northbound lanes of the highway to the southbound side, hitting the guardrail.
Naik was transported to Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, N.J., but was pronounced dead at the hospital around11:30 p.m. Nov. 28. “He was just standing on the sideline when this happened,” said Naik’s uncle, Tushar Desai, in a PIX11.com article published Nov. 29. “That kind of makes you angry.”
According to the PIX11 article, family members say Naik was on his way home from mentoring another young, first-generation Indian man. “He spent his free time, his weekend, to visit a youth in the neighborhood. Just as like a big brother, for no reason,” Neel Naik, a cousin, added in the PIX11 report.
Two passengers, who were all restaurant workers heading home for the night, were also pronounced dead at the scene at about 1:40 a.m. Nov. 29, according to the New Jersey state police. They have not yet been identified. Another 12 people, including Chase, suffered injuries in the crash, though none of their injuries were considered life-threatening.
Naik worked in data analytics for a media marketing firm in Manhattan, N.Y., his cousin Neel Naik said. He had studied statistics and economics at Rutgers University and was known for putting others before himself, his cousin said. After he graduated from Rutgers, he turned down a job offer and stayed home to care for a sick grandparent. The crash remains under investigation by the New Jersey state police. No charges have yet to be filed.
“Any time you were in a room with him, he’d be the one to get everyone going and talking to each other,” Desai is quoted saying in an nj.com news report. “He was really focused on making sure everyone was having a good time.” Naik lived with his parents and a sister.
The accident is under investigation and no one has been charged yet. The identity of the other two people killed has not yet been revealed, news reports said. According to Naik’s Linkdin profile, he was a “Student Ambassador” for the Rutgers University Foundation from Sept. 2013 to May 2014. At his current employer, R/GA, he says, he was “accumulating experience working for a global Fortune 15 technology client, developing strategical insights and recommendations based on statistical data analysis.” During his studies at Rutgers, Naik said he had “a passion for understanding how variables can interrelate using multiple regression models.”
Some key classes he took, he said “helped develop my ability to think analytically” including econometrics, behavioral economics (Game Theory), various advanced calculus courses, as well as an array of engineering courses.