Alumnus killed in chain car crash

On the morning of March 5, Emerson Kastenhoz, a recent UM graduate, died in the midst of a series of car crashes on I-95.

On Friday, Kastenhoz  drove to Miami from his home in West Palm Beach to see his girlfriend of almost a year, Caitlin Burman, and his Lambda Chi fraternity brothers.

Kastenhoz headed home early the next morning and found himself in the middle of a chain reaction car crash in North Miami-Dade near the 103rd Street exit.

Around 4:45 a.m., a taxi cab crashed into a car, blocking the left express lane. This set off the three-car crash that left everyone involved uninjured. As all of the passengers got out of their cars to assess the situation, a driver swerved to avoid the crash in the express lane and struck all five of them.

Four of the victims, including Kastenhoz, were killed instantly.

Kastenhoz graduated from the University of Miami last May with a Bachelor in Chemistry and English.

“He was the best friend anyone could ask for,” said Chris Davis, a close friend of Kastenhoz’s who read the eulogy at his funeral. “He would drop everything in a heartbeat if you ever needed anything.”

Kastenhoz’s sudden death was painful for all who knew him.

“It’s just now starting to hit me,” said Julia Strasser, another friend of Katenhoz’s. “It’s hard to accept that he won’t be here anymore.”

Kastenhoz’s girlfriend is struggling to cope with the loss.

“He was such an important part of my life,” Burman said. “It’s hard to capture in words what a truly amazing person he was. His friends and I have taken great comfort in knowing that he had an amazing last day, spent with people who care about him.”

His family and friends will not let him be forgotten.

“I have millions of great memories of Emerson and it’s these memories we all have of him to live on in our hearts forever,” Davis said.

Miranda Coleman may be contacted at

March 24, 2011


Miranda Coleman

Contributing news writer

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