|Published:||Feb 10, 2014 11:44 AM EST|
|Updated:||Feb 10, 2014 6:51 PM EST|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Jim Ilias, a graduate of Cypress Lake High School in Fort Myers, died in a fiery head-on collision on I-275 in Tampa early Sunday morning. the crash killed a total of five people around 2:00 a.m.
Family and friends tell WINK News that 20-year-old Jim Ilias will be remembered as a passionate wrestler who graduated Cypress Lake High School in 2012.
The Grab 'n Go has been closed since Sunday morning's tragedy. The Ilias family store is right down the street from the high school where Jim graduated. People continue to bring flowers as a memorial.
"I think we're all still kind of in shock," said Lynn Anthony. Anthony said Jim was her son's best friend. She'll forever remember him as full of life, teen who wasn't afraid to play dress-up with her daughter, and was friends with everyone. "Jim was always a mainstay. He would always come over. He'll be terribly missed," she said.
Her son, Nick, and Jim shared a passion for wrestling. "He made such an impact on everyone who knew him. He was so outgoing and talked to so many people. He made such an impact on a lot of people. Especially in the wresting community," said Nick, Jim's best friend.
Jim's brother, Ghan, spoke to WINK news the day of the tragedy, and said his job is to take care of his family. "I'll always remember my brother as being bright, happy and full of joy. Right now, I'm just trying to be tranquil and you know, as humble as possible about the situation. And just trying to be there for my family, you know?"
"I'm mourning right now, but eventually over time, being who I am, I feel I can conquer this. And actually maybe overcome it and maybe do something with it," Ghan said.
"The coach has been speaking with the principal, Mrs. Perkins, as far as how we're going to remember Jim. How he lived. We're going to put something in place for him. But right now, we need to take care of Jim, and his family," said Cypress Lake High School Assistant Wrestling Coach Angelo Vaughn.
Cypress Lake High School held a moment of silence Monday for Jim. Counselors are available for guidance.
Jim was studying nursing, and wanted to become a physician's assistant. He leaves behind his parents, older brother, and a little sister.
Jim's fraternity president, Raj Patel, said all four brothers killed in the crash were some of the most outgoing people he's ever seen.
"They didn't just talk to people every time they met someone they weren't shy, they would give them a full blast of their personality, one of the things that made them great," said Patel.
But through tragedy, "You really don't expect this sort of thing. Four extremely talented young men, brothers, students, leaders taken away. They had so much more to live for," said Patel.
The student community at USF is finding ways to band together, raising money for the boys' families. A GoFundMe account is set up in the boys' memory, available on the USF alumni Facebook page.
Sorority sisters were also on campus, raising hundreds of dollars by selling cupcakes.
"Help them so they wouldn't have much tension, nobody wants to worry about money when there's so much to worry about," said Patel.
The President of USF released a statement saying, "Our hearts are heavy at the loss of such bright, energetic and optimistic young people who had promising futures ahead of them."
Sigma Beta Rho will never forget them.
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