Friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of the teenager who drowned in an accident in Sunrise last week.
Venkata Krishnamurthy, 18, lost control of his vehicle late Tuesday night and drove into a body of water near Silver Lakes Boulevard and NW 12th Street.
Aden Perry, 17, was walking his family dog with his mother when he saw the crash and jumped into the water to save Krishnamurthy, but both teenagers drowned.
Family members told NBC 6 that Krishnamurthy was on the phone with his father when it all happened.
On Sunday, family members gathered to reflect on the life of young Krishnamurthy, whom many of them know better as “Say”.
“He had big dreams, and that’s why we’re celebrating…Say’s life here,” said a friend named Jacob Pizarro.
The memorial service took place right by the lake where Krishnamurthy had an accident with his car.
His friends and family told NBC 6 he was a great son, brother and athlete — and now they call him their angel.
“His smile was the only…is now…the only thing that comes to my mind when I think of Say,” his friend Ryan Wolfe said. “His joy, his happiness that he has brought to others.”
It is said that Krishnamurthy was a determined young man with a bright future ahead of him. He had many plans for his future, which his loved ones still want to realize.
His family says he wanted to study health economics with hopes of eventually opening a nonprofit organization to help underserved communities. They say his goal was to provide free health care in India and the United States.
The memorial brought family and friends together because of another of his many passions: basketball.
“He was full of joy,” said Pizarro. “Everyone who remembers him and got to know him – they can’t stop talking about his joy. He just brought joy everywhere. He played a lot of basketball.”
Krishnamurthy’s teammates are now coming together to start the Pray for Say Scholarship Fund.
They’re hoping for $66,000 — in honor of his number six jersey.
“College meant a lot to us academically,” said Say’s teammate Matthew Veerasammy. “And when he left I thought it would be beneficial to have a scholarship in his name.”
According to Veerasammy, the scholarship is dedicated to excellence in basketball and hopefully to those living in low-income communities.
“We know this means a lot to his family and to him,” Veerasammy said.
A close family friend who organized the memorial service tells NBC 6 that shortly before the crash, Krishnamurthy had just won a big game and was on his way to a restaurant when he got lost in this neighborhood last week.
“The navigation system guided him to this area and that’s how the tragedy happened,” said his friend Andres Pizarro. “The saddest thing is that he was talking to his father as he went into the water when he lost control.”
Now Say’s family is mourning the loss of their son and hopes to inspire others through his dedication to sports and school.
“I’ve never seen him angry at anyone. He always showed love, he was always the nicest person in the room,” said teammate Jason Nicholas. “He was always the first person on the court, always the first person to want to play basketball, I’ll miss that kid.”