An LSU graduate student died Friday from critical injuries he suffered after being hit by a vehicle on his way home on Sept. 23.
Civil engineering graduate student Binod Nepal, 26, was walking to a bus stop across Burbank Drive when he was struck by a vehicle. He was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center following the crash.
Nepal started classes at the University this fall. He was conducting research with the Louisiana Transportation Research Center and serving as the public relations chair of the Nepalese Student Association at LSU.
Nepalese Student Association President Rajan Dhakal met Nepal when he arrived to campus in the fall. Nepal lived with Dhakal for 10 days before moving to his own apartment.
“When he came to stay with us, he was very curious [about] all the American ways of doing things,” Dhakal said.
Dhakal said Nepal used to talk about bringing his wife to America with him. His wife is still in Nepal’s hometown of Kathmandu.
“He was looking forward to his life,” Dhakal said. “He was just starting in the U.S. He had a lot of dreams.”
After earning his undergraduate degree, Nepal worked for the Nepal government in earthquake relief. Dhakal described him as a bright and curious student.
“He used to ask questions like, ‘Why are the roads in Nepal not as good as here? What can I do from my side to make the roads and transportation research more effective in Nepal?’” Dhakal said.
Materials science Ph.D. student Dipendra Banjara picked Nepal up from the airport when he first arrived in the U.S. and lived with him for his first few days in the country.
“In a short time he shared many things with us,” Banjara said.
Banjara highlighted how difficult it can be for international students to travel far from their homes for college, but he encourages students to be like Nepal and explore the world.
After Nepal’s death, Dhakal said, there were issues with sending information, paperwork and fees about Nepal’s death to his family because they’re so far away. He said Nepal’s relatives were devastated by their loss, and dealing with this while in a different country has further complicated things.
“There were a lot of hassles, a lot of headaches,” Dhakal said. “It would be nice if LSU, as a representative of this student, could make this process easier.”
Dhakal said he is meeting with University officials soon to discuss the situation.
He also would like the University and the city of Baton Rouge to take more precautions for students who walk or bike to and from school. Dhakal said there should be more crosswalks and a lower speed limit in the busy streets surrounding campus.
“The place where he crossed the road should be properly managed so that other accidents will not happen in the future,” Dhakal said.
Dhakal, Banajara and other members of the Nepalase Student Association at LSU started a GoFundMe to support Nepal’s family. As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe has raised almost $24,000 of its $50,000 goal.
Nepal’s funeral was Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Wilson Wooddale Funeral Home in Baton Rouge.