Ryan Chartrand

Edgar Richard Viernes, an electrical engineering junior, died Friday as a result of a car accident on Foothill Boulevard near O’Connor Way. He is the fifth Cal Poly student to die in the last three months.

“He was just a great person, really easy-going,” said Alex Aldama, an electrical engineering senior who was friends with Viernes. “He was really kind and genuine – that’s probably the thing I’ll remember most about him.”

Viernes was in a car driven by his roommate, computer engineering sophomore Patrick Mariano, when a dog ran across the street. Mariano swerved to avoid it, causing the car to spin out of control and into a large tree on the east shoulder, according to a San Luis Obispo Police Department press release.



“I was in the car with Edgar minutes before he died,” said Chirag Patel, an electrical engineering junior who had known Viernes for a year and a half. “He and Patrick dropped me off, turned the corner, and then I guess they crashed. I still can’t believe it.”

Viernes was transported to Sierra Vista Hospital where he died from his injuries.

Mariano was transported to French Hospital where he was treated for major injuries and released later.

“We were supposed to study the next day,” Patel said. “And then (Edgar) never showed up for the test. I thought he had slept through it, so I kept calling and calling him. When I found out, I was completely shocked.”

Memorial plans are still uncertain but will likely take place in Santa Clarita where Viernes is from.

“Every single person who knew him liked him,” said Hiran Patel, one of Viernes’ closest friends who is a political science senior at UC Irvine. “There wasn’t a single person who knew him and didn’t like him.”

Viernes’ death comes less than three weeks after freshman Enrique Jimenez died Sept. 22 during an orientation program at Monta¤a de Oro State Park.

“This has been one of the more sad and troublesome starts to the school year,” said Cornel Morton, vice president for Student Affairs. “This is not understood to be part of the regular university life.”

Three other Cal Poly students have died since July, though only one was actively enrolled.

Morton said that in the four years he has worked in Student Affairs, he has had to deal with at least one student death per year, but “nothing quite like this.”

Reporter Sara Hamilton contributed to this article.

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