Daniel Lee Morris identified as wrong-way driver in deadly I-275 crash

7:31 PM, Feb 11, 2014   |    comments
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Video: Wrong-way driver in deadly I-275 crash identified

  • Dammie Yesudhas (top left), Jobin Kuriakose (top right), Imtiyaz "Jim" Ilias (bottom left), and Ankeet Patel were killed in a crash on I-275 on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014.
  • The driver of the white SUV that was heading in the opposite direction on I-275, and subsequently crashed into the vehicle with the 4 USF students, has been identified as 28-year-old Daniel Lee Morris from Michigan. This is a screenshot of a photo posted on his Facebook page.
    

 


 


Tampa, Florida -- The question as to who was behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition that killed four USF fraternity brothers in a head-on crash on I-275 has been answered.

The Florida Highway Patrol has identified the driver as 28-year-old Daniel Lee Morris from Michigan. 

Authorities say Morris had recently moved to Tampa from St. Clair Shores, Michigan and had been living with friend Scott Enfinger on Broad Street, whose SUV Morris was driving on the morning of the crash. Investigators say Enfinger and his wife were letting him stay there temporarily.

There's been no one home since then, neighbors say, and there was no answer at the home which once belonged to Mrs. Enfinger's parents, the Bakers, a well-known family in the neighborhood. There was also no answer at the home next door that belongs to the Bakers.

But neighbors familiar with the couple were shocked to make the connection. While they say it's normally a quiet neighborhood, this past Saturday night was different due to a party. A party Gregory Smith's relatives described as "a little louder that normal".

Smith said he had not met or even seen Morris, who has no prior record in Michigan, until just a couple of days ago.

The noise from the party eventually got quieter, but then in the middle of the night -- within just minutes of the deadly crash -- things got loud again.

"They were arguing and then it died down for a little bit, and then about two in the morning it escalated," Smith said.

Authorities are still trying to figure out where Morris entered the interstate and whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

10 News did learn from two sources that Morris had taken the SUV from a late night party in the early morning hours Sunday. They say Morris' significant other called police and told them he was emotionally distressed and possibly on a mission to take his own life.

Investigators seemed to support this claim when they noted that video leading up to the crash showed the Expedition was speeding in a straight line in the center lane of on-coming traffic and never tried to avoid the other drivers.

While investigators worked to identify the driver and the circumstances surrounding the crash, the victims' family and friends have been mourning the death of the four Sigma Beta Rho fraternity brothers.

Since Sunday's accident, thousands of dollars have been donated for the families of Dammie Yesudhas, Jobin Kuriakose, Imtiyaz "Jim" Ilias and Ankeet Patel -- all between 20 and 22 years old. 

The fraternity's national president set up a fund online for people to donate to help family members with funeral costs with the goal of raising $40,000, or $10,000 per family.

As of Tuesday, the fraternity exceeded their goal by $30,000, raising the $40,000 needed after just 15 hours.

STORY: Donations pour in for families of USF crash victims

Click here to make a donation

"It's so humbling because I loved these guys so much, they are my brothers, and to know that not only my heart goes out to them, but so does everyone else's heart, is amazing," said local fraternity's president Raj Patel. 

There will also be candlelight vigil on Thursday, Jan. 13 at the USF Marshall Canter at 3:30 p.m. to remember the lives lost on that tragic night.

**DISCLAIMER: In keeping with our Crime Guidelines, 10 News has chosen not to feature the cell phone footage that shows the fatal, head-on collision on I-275 from Sunday morning. Continued reports, both on-air and on www.wtsp.com, will no longer contain that footage as of 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.**

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