Campus & Community

DU community remembers graduate student killed in hit-and-run

Mourners remembered Masoud Bahramsharif at a memorial service Wednesday. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

An overflow crowd came to the International House on the University of Denver campus Wednesday to remember the life of Masoud Bahramisharif, a graduate engineering student killed in a hit-and-run accident on May 31.

Bahramisharif’s friends and colleagues remembered him as a positive, energetic person who enjoyed working in the research lab and playing basketball, volleyball and water polo.

“He was a kind person. He was not just a student to me, he was a great friend,” said Mohammad Mahoor, an assistant professor in the engineering department and Bahramisharif’s academic adviser. “This is a big loss for me, for my research lab and for DU.”

More than one speaker made reference to Bahramisharif’s ever-present smile. Sarvin Tabatabaei, who knew the graduate student through the Denver Iranian community, said that looking at photos displayed in a slide show at the beginning of the service reminded her of Bahramisharif’s happiness, kindness and positive energy.

“He had a smile on his face almost every time that we saw him,” Tabatabaei said.

Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni noted that he never had met Bahramisharif face-to-face, but he remembers walking near Penrose Library and seeing the young man’s smile from afar.

“What was striking was that smile on his face,” Kazerooni said. “That forced me to smile in acknowledgment despite the distance.”

Kazerooni said that Bahramisharif lived his life in such a way that “even strangers now feel the vacuum and the pain of his absence.”

Bahramisharif, 24, was killed May 31 when he was struck by an SUV as he was walking his bicycle, on a green light, through a crosswalk at East Evans Avenue and South University Boulevard. Aurora police arrested the alleged driver, Andrew Simpson, Monday night. Simpson is charged with two felonies: vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

Bahramisharif’s mother was in Denver from Iran visiting her son the night the fatal accident took place.

“Just imagine the tragedy of a mother coming to visit her son after eight or nine months and having to go back knowing that two days after her departure from Denver, the coffin of her son is going to be sent to Iran, all because one member of our society could not wait one minute behind a traffic light,” Kazerooni said. “The callous disregard for one’s life was such that the guy dragged his bicycle for nearly two blocks.”

A memorial scholarship fund has been established in Bahramisharif’s name through University Advancement (visit the Ascend website to donate). University Athletics donated a basketball jersey that was signed by friends and colleagues at Wednesday’s memorial ceremony. It will be sent to his family in Iran.

Bahramisharif was born in Hamedan, Iran. He had a BS in computer science from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.

In part due to the Bahramisharif case, the Colorado House of Representatives signed a new bill into law Wednesday that makes a hit-and-run resulting in serious bodily injury a Class 4 felony. The charge carries the same weight as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Currently, drivers who leave the scene of an accident receive a lesser penalty under the law than if they stay on the scene.

The new law takes effect Aug. 7.

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