Two Indian origin students were dead in a hit-and-run accident in South Nashville, Tennessee on Thanksgiving night, according to authorities.

Judy Stanley (23), and Vybhav Gopisetty (26) were graduate students of the Tennessee State University (TSU) and were pursuing food science degrees in the College of Agriculture, the university said.

According to the local police, Stanley and Gopisetty died in an apparent hit-and-run incident on the night of November 28. Stanley was seeking a master’s, Gopisetty, a doctorate, the university said in a statement.

David Torres (26), the owner of the GMC pickup truck involved the double-fatal crash on Nolensville Pike near Harding Place, surrendered before the police, Metro Nashville Police Department said on Sunday. “Torres would not answer questions. Officers took a DNA sample. Investigation continuing,” the police said.

One of the eyewitnesses Louis Wireless said that he was walking to the bus stop when he heard it happen and saw the GMC driver run away from the scene.

“Boom boom like that and I looked backwards. It was right there I would’ve been dead right there, but something told me to step back,” local News 4 quoted him as saying. “They’re dead but we are going to make them alive again, so people get their chance in court get him because that guy ran… he didn’t even care about their lives,” Mireles said.

Bharat Pokharel, Associate Professor at the Department of Agricultural and Environment Sciences College of Agriculture wrote on his facebook post that the students were “humble, innocent, and hardworking” with a “prosperous future”. “I could not believe what had happened to the lives of these two young energetic scientists.

The university also released a statement, saying: “The Tennessee State University family is mourning the loss of two students killed in an auto accident on Thanksgiving night. Judy Stanley, 23, and Vybhav Gopisetty, 26, were both graduate students from India pursuing food science degrees in the College of Agriculture. Stanley was seeking a master’s, and Gopisetty a doctorate.”

(With inputs from agency)