Roommate remembers Sandy Le, one of 3 killed in SXSW crash

This handout photo courtesy of the Le family shows Sandy Thuy Le. On Monday, March 17, 2014, Le became the third person to die after being struck by a suspected drunken driver in Austin last week during the South By Southwest festival Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Bremner said.(AP Photo/Le Family)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For Eric Nagurney, Sandy Le was much more then just a roommate. Sandy was a friend and part of a very close knit group of people who all moved here together from Mississippi.

Part of that group, along with Sandy, went out the night an accused drunk driver plowed into a crowd of people. Sandy died and two of her friends were injured.

“It seemed like such a surreal thing,” Eric said. “I didn’t understand what had happened. It took days for me to piece together what occurred.”

Sandy and Eric were together just hours before the crash, but he went home early.

“The day after the accident we actually had plans to go and see one of our favorite bands,” he said. “We tried to see them earlier at South by Southwest but we left because the line was too long.”

Eric says what he’ll remember most is Sandy’s smile, and how she always made people laugh, even if it wasn’t intentional.

“Anytime she would come over to a friends house she would not knock on a friends door,” he said. “She’d just open and say, ‘Sandy no knocks!'”

“I don’t know if it’s ruined it,” Nagurney said of future SXSW festivals. “Sandy really enjoyed SXSW, so I think she’d be upset if it ruined it for us. ”

Stuart Gates, Le’s brother-in-law, said Sandy was surrounded by friends and family when she died Monday morning. She came from a Vietnamese-American shrimping family that have had numerous obstacles in the past few years.

“They lost their house in Hurricane Katrina, and the BP oil spill punched their livelihood in the gut,” said Gates. “They also lost an uncle out to sea in July who was never found.”

“She was super intelligent, one of those types that never let college get in the way of her education,” he said, adding that she had moved to Austin three years ago to finish her college degree. “She was a brilliant person, a wonderful personality and bubbly in a fun way, real outgoing. A live-life-to-the-fullest type.”

Sandy will be laid to rest on Saturday. To help with medical and funeral expenses, friends of Sandy set up a site to collect money. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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