Sports Outside the Beltway

North Carolina Student Mascot Dies

This is just too sad for words.

HACKENSACK, N.J. — A 21-year-old University of North Carolina student who served as a mascot for the school’s basketball team died Monday, three days after he was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while walking along a highway.

Jason Ray, who dressed up as UNC’s ram mascot, Rameses, had been in critical condition since the accident on Route 4 on Friday afternoon. He had been in New Jersey for the men’s NCAA Tournament game between North Carolina and Southern California at Continental Airlines Arena.

Steve Kirscher, UNC’s associate athletics director for communications, said Ray died at 8:38 a.m. Monday.

According to police, Ray left his hotel to go to a nearby convenience store Friday afternoon, and was walking back along Route 4 when he was struck from behind by an SUV. The driver stopped immediately to call 911. No charges have been filed.

Police said Gagik Hovsepyan, 51, the driver who hit Ray, had a valid driver’s license and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. His son was asleep in the SUV at the time, police said.

Ray was scheduled to graduate in May with a major in business administration and a minor in religion.

Nothing but thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.

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