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Hankinson, 27 gets four years jail for killing Indian student
Hankinson had ran a red light, struck another car with her sports utility vehicle and spun up onto the sidewalk, pushing the Abhishek Singh, into the Hocking River on June 30, 2007

Ohio , July 09, 2008
Satinder Sharma

An Ohio court sentenced April R. Hankinson, 27, four years in jail and to pay USD 15,465 in restitution to the deceased's family, whose car accidently ran over an Indian student last year.

According to the report on August 22, 2007, Christa Gould / For The Post:

Abhishek Singh, an Ohio University student from India working on his doctorate in physics and astronomy, was killed after he apparently was hit in a two-vehicle accident and thrown into the Hocking River. He was 22.

Singh was born in Faizabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India on July 7, 1984. His parents are Amarendra and Indu Singh.

He had been studying at Ohio University since fall of 2006. Before coming to Ohio University, Singh studied at the National Institute of Technology in Jamsehdpur in the state of Jharkhand in India. He earned a degree in electrical engineering.

“He was always very enthusiastic, probably one of the most enthusiastic students I knew,” said Ken Hicks, professor in physics and astronomy and advisor for Singh’s summer research project. “He really wanted to make some discovery or some contribution to the world through physics.”

One of his roommates, Sunny Mishra, said that Singh’s aim was “to serve India after getting his degree.”

Singh was also a member of the Indian Students Association at OU.“He used to go out in the morning [to study and do research] and come back late at night,” said Santosh Vijapur, the association’s treasurer.

Singh placed third in the Microsoft Imagine Cup prize in 2005 for his work in computer programming and received $3,000. He was also awarded about $5,000 from Texas Instruments in 2004.

Although he did not accept the position, Singh was selected to be a scientist in the Defense Research and Development Organization for the government of India, Mishra said.

Singh’s body will be returned to his family in India for burial, said George Mauzy, spokesman for the university. The university will later hold a memorial service for Singh.

Singh was killed Saturday when an SUV allegedly careened across the Richland Avenue bridge, hit him and sent him into the river.

The SUV was part of a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Richland Avenue and State Route 682 that happened around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday, Lt. Randy Gray of the Athens Police Department, said.

Police found the body of Singh, a 22-year-old graduate student from India—nearly 14 hours after the accident—in the Hocking River on Sunday at about 3:25 p.m.

Police officers were at the accident scene on Saturday night, but the drivers did not report that a pedestrian had been hit, Gray said.

“No one had any idea [a pedestrian had been hit] until after we found the body,” he added.

On Sunday, however, people on the bike path along the Hocking River noticed what resembled a body in the river and notified the OU Police Department, who later contacted the Athens Police Department, Gray said.

The initial accident occurred when April Hankinson, 26, of Athens, ran the red light at State Route 682 while traveling northbound on Richland Avenue in her Ford Explorer, Gray said.

Hankinson’s vehicle was hit by a Subaru LGX compact traveling eastbound on Route 682, Gray said. The eastbound vehicle’s driver was Naomi Bell, 45, of Ravenswood, W.Va. Hankinson’s car careened into Singh, knocking him off the bridge, Gray said.

Hankinson and Bell were taken to O’Bleness Memorial Hospital, 55 Hospital Drive, for minor injuries and were released, Gray said.

Police have a blood sample from Hankinson and will determine if she had alcohol in her blood, Gray said. He did not say if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Once the crash’s investigation is complete, the prosecutor’s office will review the evidence and decide if charges will be filed, Gray said.

Many faiths commemorate man of science
University, Athens communities gather to remember a promising life cut short

July 20, 2007
By Anita Martin

Those lucky enough to call Abhishek Singh their friend, student or teacher say they are forever changed by his inexhaustible curiosity and ready smile.

Singh, of Faizabad, India, who was pursuing a doctorate in physics at Ohio University, died following a June 30 traffic accident on Richland Avenue, just six days before his 23rd birthday.

Close to 200 members of the university and Athens communities gathered Thursday afternoon to honor his life and celebrate his memory. Amritjit Singh, the university's Langston Hughes Professor of English and African American Studies, led the service.

"We are all part of a university community, and a university community in a small town," Amritjit Singh said. "We are all connected, and in that way, we are all Abhishek's extended family."

Amritjit Singh, with the help of Singh's friends and university staff members, designed the service as an interfaith memorial to facilitate the healing of mourners of various beliefs. The service incorporated Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish prayers, blessings, chants and songs.

References to Singh's passionate inquisitiveness were threaded through the service as friends and professors shared their memories.

"Abhishek did not blindly accept what was written in textbooks. He wanted to question them, to test ideas of his own," said Kenneth Hicks, professor of physics and Singh's research adviser. "He expressed the critical thinking that is the hallmark of science."

Share your remembrances
Those who wish to send a message to Singh's family may stop by the Office of International Student and Faculty Services in Baker Center 348 to sign a book of condolences. The book will be sent to Singh's family at the end of July.

In recognition of Singh's interest in teaching undergraduate students, the Department of Physics and Astronomy has established an undergraduate scholarship in his name to serve as a permanent memorial.

Those wishing to make a donation to endow this scholarship may send contributions to:

Department of Physics & Astronomy
Ohio University
251 Clippinger Labs
Athens, OH 45701
Please make checks out to The Ohio University Foundation. For more information, contact Wayne Chiasson at 740-593-1712 or

Many noted that Singh's interests extended far beyond his studies of accelerated particle physics to include such subjects as history, economics, psychology and linguistics, to name a few. Friends said he often worked in the lab or read late into the night, only to rise earlier than his roommates the next morning to return to his studies.

"Abhishek was a living encyclopedia," said Dhruv Kohli, one of those roommates. "Talk about history or talk about technology, he always had an answer."

Kellen Murphy, Singh's officemate in the physics department, spoke of his inspirational effect. "What I learned from Abhishek is that everyone should seek out passion and indulge in that passion as much as possible."

In all accounts, Singh was described as a genuine scholar, devoted to understanding the nature of the physical world and spreading his love of science to others through teaching. Singh's frequent laughter revealed a playful side as well.

As Singh's friend Brett Ragozzine recalled with a laugh, Singh sometimes joked about keeping an imaginary pet stegosaurus named Fred. "He could be so serious sometimes," Ragozzine said, "but he was also always smiling and laughing."

In response to Singh's death, his fellow physics students have submitted a petition asking Athens City Council to improve pedestrian safety near the intersection of Ohio Route 682 and Richland Avenue. In addition, the Department of Physics and Astronomy is collecting donations in hopes of creating an endowed undergraduate scholarship in Singh's name to honor his devotion to teaching.

"Abhishek's major goal was to improve the world," Amritjit Singh said. "By addressing better safety and creating this undergraduate scholarship, he will certainly improve the world here in Athens."


Abhishek Singh

Abhishek Singh was pursuing a doctorate in physics at Ohio University, died following a June 30 traffic accident on Richland Avenue, just six days before his 23rd birthday.