Drew Esquivel 1995-2016

July 18, 2016

To the members of the MIT community,

I write in sadness about a grave accident involving several members of the MIT community.

Around 3 a.m. Saturday morning on a busy block in Brooklyn, New York, an accused drunk driver plowed into a group of friends on the sidewalk. Andrew "Drew" Esquivel '17, was killed. Sophia Tabchouri '18, James Balchunas '14 and a young woman affiliated with NYU were all seriously injured; they are now hospitalized.  

President Reif, who is currently traveling, asked that I share this with you and that I express, on behalf of the entire MIT community, our deepest sympathy to Drew's family and friends. To Sophia and James, we extend our best hopes for their recovery and we offer them and their families any support we can. And to the larger circle of their MIT friends and connections, we join you in your shock and grief.

A rising senior in electrical engineering and computer science, Drew was an officer and respected leader of MIT's wrestling club. He participated in a UROP in the Laboratory for Computational Physiology developing electronic medical record systems for underserved areas. A native of Healdsburg, California, Drew most recently lived off campus and was in New York working at an internship with the mobile marketing firm Appboy.

From social media and other sources, many of you will know of this incident already. Although we chose not to write publicly until we could reach the Esquivel family, we have been reaching out with support for students likely most affected. I encourage anyone who would benefit from counsel or support to turn to the many resources available to our community:


I am inspired by our community's outpouring of sympathy and heartfelt offers to help Drew's family as well as Sophia, James and their families. We are a tightknit community, and we will continue to care for and turn to each other during this difficult period. One opportunity to do that will be this Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. in W15 when MIT Chaplains will be available for prayer, support and quiet reflection.

With deepest sympathy,

Cynthia Barnhart