UB student weeks from graduating was pedestrian killed in Shelton
Updated 6:42 pm, Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Naga Tulasi Ram Bethapudi was weeks away from graduating the University of Bridgeport with a master’s degree.
But his walk on a Shelton street proved fatal Tuesday when the graduate student was struck during a multi-vehicle crash.
Bethapudi, 27, of Hyderbad, India, was hit about 7:20 p.m. in the vicinity of 350 Bridgeport Ave., Shelton police said. Bethapudi was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no arrests in the case as of Wednesday.
“He was studying electrical engineering,” said Nounam Khan, Bethapudi’s former roommate. “He was doing his master’s degree. This was his last semester; he was graduating this December.”
UB officials said he has no relatives in the United States as far as they were aware.
Khan, who is a UB senior studying mechanical engineering, said he lived with Bethapudi for four months for the fall 2016 semester.
“He was my classmate,” said Khan. “He used to live with me as well.”
Khan said he met Bethapudi while they were both enrolled in an electrical engineering course during the spring 2016 semester. He said Bethapudi was living in Waterbury at the time of his death and was commuting to UB.
Students on campus said they had either not heard anything about his death, or they had read an email sent out by the university’s president Wednesday morning.
Mustafa Al-Azdee, a senior electrical engineering major, said he heard about what happened solely through the email sent to the student body that did not identify Bethapudi as the student who was killed.
“One of my other classmates — a friend — called me. He said to inform as many people as you can — to tell his friends,” Khan said.
He said the phone calls telling others that Bethapudi had died were not easy to make.
“Oh, it was tough,” Khan said. “Very tough.”
Though news of a memorial had not yet been shared with students Wednesday afternoon, Khan said the university usually organizes one.
The UB Dean of Students Edina Oestreicher said her officer was working with Bethapudi’s cloest friends to plan a memorial.
“It’s (a mood) of shock and sadness,” on campus, Oestreicher said.
“He was polite, he was kind of shy, and a good student,” said Bethapudi’s academic adviser Navarun Gupta, chair of the electrical engineering department.
Oestreicher said Bethapudi’s studies focused on power electronics and solar energy. He was planning to complete a final project with a spotlight on sustainable energy.
“We wish to extend our deepest condolences to his friends and family,” said University of Bridgeport President Neil A. Salonen. “It is often helpful to talk about loss in the wake of a tragedy, and we urge individuals to avail themselves of these free and confidential resources.”
University of Bridgeport students who wish to speak to grief counselors can call 203-576-4454, and staff members can call 800-252-4555.
The area of Bridgeport Avenue between Platt Road and Cots Street was closed Tuesday and into Wednesday as the Shelton police accident reconstruction team remained on the scene investigating.
The police investigation into the accident is ongoing. Anyone who witnessed the accident or has additional information is urged to call the Shelton Police Traffic Division at (203) 924-1544.