Business school junior dies at 21 following hit-and-run

Vladimir Debabov, a UC Berkeley junior in the Haas School of Business, died Saturday after being the victim of a hit-and-run near Davis. He was 21.

The incident occurred at about 3:50 a.m., when Debabov was walking north on Highway 113 and was struck by a vehicle, which left after the collision, according to the California Highway Patrol. He suffered fatal injuries and died at the scene, Yolo County Chief Deputy Coroner Robert LaBrash told The Lagonian, the newspaper that serves Debabov’s hometown of Foster City.

Debabov graduated from Mills High School in 2009. While there, he was on the track team and was involved in a club focused on promoting international understanding, according to Millbrae Patch.

“For four long years man you (were) always the dude pushing me on the racetrack to go the distance,” wrote Renzo Mendoza, a student at Boise State University, on Facebook.

Debabov was expected to graduate with a degree in business administration in spring 2013 and was a member of the UC Berkeley chapter of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, said Ute Frey, the associate director of marketing and communications at the business school, in an email.

This year, Debabov acted as a pledge facilitator on the executive board of the fraternity, according to the group’s website.

Along with fellow Alpha Kappa Psi member and campus junior MinJung Suh, Debabov earned second place in the Rothstein Kass Case Competition in 2010, which involves analyzing accounting, audit and finance-related issues for fictitious hedge fund clients.

The Tennis at Cal website also has Debabov listed as an active member for spring 2012.

The news of Debabov’s death was revealed to the campus business fraternities Saturday morning, according to Nanxi Liu, a member of the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, which is closely connected with Alpha Kappa Psi. Liu described Debabov as a “very respected student in the Haas and business fraternity community” in an email.

According to an online job networking account in his name, Debabov was an intern for the State Water Resources Control Board — a group that works for the California Environmental Protection Agency to ensure the quality of California’s water resources — from 2010 to 2011. Last summer, he was a project management intern at AAA Auto Insurance, according to his LinkedIn account.

“You were one of the best guys I have ever known, always overflowing with optimism with that ‘Grin’,” wrote Austin Guanzon, a San Jose State University student, on Facebook. “That one grin that would make you think everything would just work out and be perfectly fine. And it’s that same grin that will always be engraved in my memories of you.”

Frey said the business school did not have any information about Debabov’s funeral as of Monday afternoon.

Betsy Vincent covers academics and administration.