Civil engineering student at California Polytechnic killed in car accident

Sanjeev Joshi, 23, was the only fatality.

By Deepak Chitnis


WASHINGTON, DC: Sanjeev Joshi, a graduate student at California State Polytechnic University, died in a car crash last month, the passenger in a vehicle operated by a friend who was both drunk and speeding.

Joshi was a passenger in the car, which was driven by his friend and fellow student, Ryan James Reisenberger. Two other young men were also in the car: Bo “Andrew” Thompson and Nicolas Licouris, both from California. Only Joshi was killed in the accident; the other three were taken to San Francisco General Hospital and treated for broken and fractured bones.

The crash occurred in the early morning hours of November 23, around 3:25 AM. Authorities say the four young men were in a 2008 BMW owned and driven by Reisenberger, who was intoxicated. The single-car crash occurred on Highway 1, just south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels, at a place called Devil’s Slide. The crash caused traffic in both directions to be shut down for five hours as authorities cleared the wreckage from the road.

Joshi was pronounced dead at the scene. Reisenberger was arrested shortly after being hospitalized, and remains in police custody, having not posted his $250,000 bail.

Authorities say that, in addition to intoxication, speed likely played a factor in the crash. A tricky curve is what is suspected as having caused Reisenberger to lose control of the vehicle and slam into the side of the road, killing Joshi and injuring the passenger in the back-right side of the car.

The incident is reminiscent of the accident that killed Hollywood star Paul Walker last month, who was the passenger in a Porsche that careened off the road while driving at a high speed on a sharp curve in Los Angeles. In that tragedy, however, there was no alcohol or drugs involved, just speeding.

Joshi, born in January of 1990, was just 23 years old at the time of his death. He and his fellow passengers were members of the Sigma Nu fraternity at Cal Poly. A native of Fresno, California, Joshi was studying civil engineering at the school.

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