The St. Matthew’s School of Medicine on Grand Cayman will hold a memorial Friday afternoon in honour of Richard Martin, 52, a first year student who died in a car crash early Wednesday morning.
The memorial is a private event for St. Matthew’s students and staff only.
Mr. Martin’s death has made a profound impact both in his hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and here in Grand Cayman where teachers at St. Matthew’s said the shocking death of their oldest student body member at the hands of a suspected drink driver has been hard to bear.
“The fact that the [person who was arrested] was DUI makes it tougher to accept,” said Dr. Senthil Kumar, St. Matthew’s dean of basic sciences.
Although Mr. Martin was more than twice the age of the average student at St. Matthew’s, Mr. Kumar said he was well-respected and “won the hearts” of the younger students.
“He had a lot of leadership skills,” Mr. Kumar said. “He was a student government representative and very involved in the local community.”
In the community of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, Mr. Martin was well-known and was the husband of prominent local businesswoman Susan Yee.
Ms Yee is the chief executive officer of Active Data Exchange Inc. in Pennsylvania, USA. The Caymanian Compass contacted the firm Wednesday and both Ms Yee and the organisation declined to comment.
Ms Yee and Mr. Martin have two children.
Mr. Martin was studying to become a family practice physician at St. Matthew’s and was due to graduate with the class of 2014.
According to his Facebook page, Mr. Martin had graduated in 1981 from Pennsylvania State University with a nuclear engineering degree. A full 17 years later, he graduated from the University of Southern California with an engineering management degree. The page said Mr. Martin had served as a lecturer in math and computer science at DeSales University and was on Penn State’s advisory board between 2004 and 2010.
Mr. Kumar said Mr. Martin was at a point in his life where he felt he had made enough money and wanted to pursue a medical career.
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officials provided few new details on the crash that killed Mr. Martin.
According to officers, the St. Matthew’s student’s Honda Logo was struck by a much larger Chevrolet Blazer in the northbound lane of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway around 12.30am Wednesday.
Mr. Martin, who was giving another student a ride home after a study session, was apparently trying to turn into the Lakeside Villas condo complex when he was struck by the SUV.
The SUV’s driver, a 31-year-old man, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of DUI and causing death by dangerous driving. He had not been charged at press time.