‘He was magnetic’: VCU campus mourns senior killed in I-64 crash

VCU senior mourned after car crash

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The VCU community is mourning after a student was killed in a fiery crash on I-64 on Aug. 31.

Hundreds of students are expected to turn out for a vigil honoring the life of VCU senior Brandon Dorns on Tuesday evening.

Dorns was killed in a crash early Saturday morning in I-64 in Goochland. His friend, Abanoub Zaki, also a VCU student, survived the crash. Zaki is now recovering in the hospital.

Fraternity brothers of 22-year-old Dorns have already raised more than $10,000 to help his family with funeral costs. The money will also help cover medical expenses for Zaki, and a scholarship fund in Dorns’ name.

“He was magnetic. Everyone wanted to be around him,” said friend and fraternity brother Michael Portillo.

"He was always the center of attention,” said Portillo. “You'd see 15 people crowded around him. You'd have to break through just to say hi to him."

Dorns was set to graduate this fall with a degree in business. He planned to get his real estate license, and travel to begin his career in either Los Angeles or New York.

Dorns would have walked across the graduation stage with fraternity brother Steph Espiritu.

"He would always talk about going to L.A. and just traveling the world,” said Espiritu.

Dorns and Zaki were returning from a trip visiting Brandon’s best friend at UVA. State police say Dorns veered off the road and struck an embankment. The car flipped and then caught fire. Dorns didn’t survive. VSP says speed is being investigated as a possible factor in the crash.

Zaki suffered serious injuries, but his friends have spoken to him in the hospital, and say he’s doing okay.

The GoFundMe page, set up by Dorns’ fraternity, has drawn more than $10,535, helping to pay for burial costs, medical bills for Zaki, and to create a scholarship fund at VCU, in Brandon’s name.

“We’d really like to see Brandon’s legacy be on this campus,” said Portillo. “We’d really like to see that even though he couldn’t finish... that out of this tragedy, something good could come of it.”

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