‘He Had Big Dreams': Friends, Family Remember Teen Who Drowned in Sunrise Crash

Venkata Krishnamurthy's friends and family remember him as a great son, brother, and athlete — and now, they call him their angel

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Friends and family gathered Sunday to celebrate the life of the teen who drowned in a crash in Sunrise last week.

Venkata Krishnamurthy, 18, got lost and lost control of his vehicle late Tuesday night and drove into the body of water near Silver Lakes Boulevard and Northwest 12th Street.

Aden Perry, 17, was walking his family dog with his mom when he saw the crash and jumped into the water to try to save Krishnamurthy, but both of the teens drowned.

People close to the family told NBC 6 that Krishnamurthy was on the phone with his father when it all happened.

On Sunday, loved ones gathered to reflect on the life of young Krishnamurthy, who many of them better know as "Sai."

“He had big dreams, and so here we are... celebrating the life of Sai," said a friend named Jacob Pizarro.

The memorial took place right by the lake where Krishnamurthy crashed 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 thing… is now… the only thing I can think of when I think of Sai," said his friend, Ryan Wolfe. "His joy, his happiness that he brought upon others.”

They say Krishnamurthy was a determined young man with a bright future ahead of him. He had many plans for his future, which his loved ones are hoping to still make happen.

His family says he wanted to study business in health, hoping to eventually open a non-profit to help underserved communities. They say his goal was to provide free healthcare in India and in the United States.

At the memorial, family and friends came together over another one of his many passions: basketball.

Friends and family holding a signed basketball at the memorial of 18-year-old Venkata Krishnamurthy.

"He was filled with joy," said Pizarro. "Everyone that remembers him and got to know him — they can’t stop talking about his joy. He just brought joy everywhere. He played a bunch of basketball.”

Krishnamurthy's teammates are now coming together to create the "Play for Sai Scholarship Fund."

They’re hoping to collect $66,000 – in honor of his jersey number six.

“College meant a lot to us academically," said Sai's teammate Matthew Veerasammy. "And him leaving, I thought it would be beneficial to have a scholarship in his name."

Veerasammy says the scholarship is dedicated to excellence in basketball, and hopefully, those who are in low-income communities.

"We know that means a lot to his family and to him," said Veerasammy.

A close family friend who organized the memorial tells NBC 6 that moments 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 took him in this area and this is how the tragedy happened," said his friend Andres Pizarro. "The saddest part is that he was talking to his dad as he was going in the water, as he lost control.”

Now, Sai's family is mourning the loss of their son and hoping to inspire others through his dedication to sports and school.

“I’d never seen him upset at anybody. He always showed love, he was always the kindest person in the room," said his teammate, Jason Nicholas. "He was always the first person at the court, always the first person looking to play basketball, I’m gonna miss that kid.”

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