Santa Barbara community members gathered in Isla Vista’s Little Acorn Park yesterday to honor the lives of four people who were killed on Sabado Tarde Road 10 years ago by a deranged driver.UCSB students Nick Bourdakis and Christopher Davis, Santa Barbara City College student Ruth Levy and San Francisco resident Elie Israel were struck and killed by 19-year-old UCSB freshman David Attias when he drove down the 6500 block of Sabado Tarde at an estimated 60 miles per hour. Levy’s older brother Albert, the massacre’s only survivor, was critically injured.
Family and friends drew together at 6 p.m. for a candlelight vigil as Reverend Father Jon-Stephen Hedges, Chaplain at St. Athanasius Antiochian Orthodox Church, said a short prayer to honor each victim. After initial prayer, the crowd joined together to sing “Amazing Grace.”
“Sadly, I did not know any of the children personally, but after the incident I have gotten to know the family members on a very personal and spiritual level,” Hedges said.
Chancellor Henry T. Yang and his wife Dilling — who arrived at the scene of the accident shortly after midnight on that infamous Friday in 2001 — joined community members at Little Acorn Park for the memorial.
Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lt. Ray Vuillemainroy said he showed up to support all those affected.
“I’m here to pay my respects to the family,” said Vuillemainroy. “This is a tragic event that shook the community.”
The memorial site at Acorn Park is highlighted with a mosaic-covered rock depicting vibrant sunflowers. Last night, candles and flowers adorned the site as family and friends reminisced about those not present.
Tony Bourdakis, father of victim Nicholas Bourdakis, shared stories of his son. One anecdote from Nick’s life detailed his dedicated compassion for an injured pet gecko.
“[Nicholas] begged us to take it to the vet, and the gecko ended up having surgery and Nick lovingly and patiently nursed the animal back to life,” Bourdakis said.
The son of prominent Hollywood filmmaker and producer Daniel Attias, first year student David Attias was known to have erratic behavior and mood swings prior to the tragedy.
Blood tests showed that Attias had marijuana and lidocaine (a topical anesthetic) in his system at the time of the crash, although neither was deemed a significant cause of his behavior. The jury eventually ruled Attias mentally insane and sentenced him to 60 years in a psychiatric ward.