FHP to re-interview driver after student hit, killed near UCF

Austin Ekern, 20, died in crash on Alafaya Trail

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

OVIEDO, Fla. - New video was released Wednesday in connection with a crash near the University of Central Florida in which a student was killed.

Austin Ekern, 20, who attended Florida State University and was the son of a longtime UCF staff member, was run over and killed Friday on Alafaya Trail near McCulloch Road.

"I have a 20-year-old son who is in the prime of his life and it was taken in an instant," Brent Ekern, Austin's father, told News 6.

The video, obtained from a nearby apartment complex, shows a white van and black car traveling through the area, and the Florida Highway Patrol said it believes the black car struck Austin Ekern and knocked him down onto Alafaya Trail. 

Troopers said that up to a minute later a pickup truck ran over Austin Ekern, killing him. The driver of the pickup stopped and told authorities that he had not seen Austin Ekern in the road.

The FHP said the driver of the black car also stayed at the scene and was questioned by authorities, who added that a language barrier made it difficult to communicate. Law enforcement officials allowed the driver the leave the scene, but the FHP said troopers were planning on re-questioning him on Wednesday.

The FHP initially thought Austin Ekern was either lying in the road or fell on his own, but troopers now say they're not sure who was at fault.

Austin Ekern's funeral is scheduled for Thursday.

"My son had such an impact on so many people that I'm trying to celebrate the 20 years of his life rather than focusing on what I've lost," Brent Ekern said.

The victim's father adds he hopes the driver of the black vehicle can provide the answers their family needs to get closure.

"Obviously losing a child is difficult enough, but to not have any answers about what lead up to this tragic result is equally as difficult," Brent Ekern said.

The family released a statement Wednesday afternoon.

“Our family is suffering the worst pain anyone can imagine. We trust FHP to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Austin’s tragic death. We also ask the public to assist in providing information that can help shed light on what happened and bring closure to our family. We ask the media to respect our grieving and honor our privacy during this time,” the statement read.

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