Student Richard Jung, 21, passed away on New Year’s day, after an unlicensed and allegedly drunk driver rear-ended his car, sending the car into oncoming traffic.
The accident occurred on Highway 46 near San Luis Obispo. Jung was one of three fatalities, including his mother, who was sitting in the passenger’s seat. Both Jung and his mother died on the scene. A second driver, Carl Curtis Logan, died later in the hospital. The driver who caused the accident walked away unharmed, CHP reports said.
Jung was a senior microbiology major who lived in South Davis. He refereed for campus intramural sports, celebrated his Korean identity and hunted on weekends with his brother Daniel near his home in Shandon.
“Coping with this has been very difficult, but each day, we grieve less and remember the good times more,” Daniel said in an article in the San Luis Obispo County Tribune. “This is not the best time of my life, but my family and I are doing the best we can.”
Many of Jung’s friends called him a “teddy bear” due to his caring and sensitive tendencies, said Megan Banker, a senior neurology physiology and behavior major who knew Jung from the dorms.
“Richard really was one of the nicest, most laid back guys I’ve ever known,” said Mone Azzopardi, a friend of Jung’s and senior bioscience major.
Azzopardi, who knew Jung from the dorms and had classes with him all four years, said that Jung had helped her pass math, and that he was extremely intelligent, going out of his way to help his friends in classes.
Jung worked in a lab on campus as cancer vaccine research assistant. He was fluent in English, Spanish and Korean. He will receive a posthumous diploma.
“Richard was making it through school, just like all of us,” Banker said. “He had so much potential. He was going to graduate in the spring with all his friends.”
Jung’s mother, Hyun Kim, came to the U.S. to start a business so that she could send her two sons to college.
“My mom was selfless and made a lot of sacrifices,” Daniel said. “Everything she did was for my brother and I.”
Alleged drunken driver Herculano Hernandez, 23, faces three counts of second-degree murder and nine other felony charges. Hernandez is currently in jail with a $3 million bail. Records show that he had a prior DUI conviction as well.
“It seems like justice is being served, but I would so much rather [Jung] be alive,” Banker said.
In an interview with KGET, Hernandez said that he had been drinking in the early morning hours, but that he thought he would be able to drive.
A service for Jung will be held tonight in Griffin Lounge at 7 p.m.
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at email@example.com.