Local News

UNC student mascot in critical condition after being hit by car

Posted March 23, 2007
Updated April 30, 2008

— The student who wears the costume of Rameses, the University of North Carolina mascot, was in critical condition Sunday afternoon  with injuries he suffered when an SUV hit him while he was crossing a road before UNC's NCAA Tournament basketball game, officials said.

A spokeswoman for  said Jason Ray, a senior from Concord, was being treated at Hackensack University Medical Center. He was returning to his hotel in Fort Lee after buying food at a convenience store Friday when he was struck by a Mercury Mountaineer trying to exit a highway, police reported.

The driver of the vehicle, Gagik Hovsepyan, stopped the car, tried to help and called police.

Ray is a member of the UNC cheerleading squad and has portrayed Rameses for three years. He was to have appeared Friday night at UNC's Sweet 16 game against the University of Southern California at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford.

"We found out after the game," said UNC guard Wes Miller. "It's shocking. It's awful. We're just praying for him."

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident," UNC athletic director Dick Baddour said in a statement. "Our hearts go out to Jason and his family and our prayers are with them."

"I lost my sister last week, and that was really hard," said UNC coach Roy Williams. “I cannot imagine what a parent is going through when a situation like this happens."

On the Web site Facebook.com, friends and people who didn't even know Ray have posted get-well wishes and hopes for a positive outcome.

The crash is still under investigation, and no criminal charges have been filed, police said.


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  • Heelzrule Mar 25, 2007

    Keep hanging in there Jason. My prayers continue for you and yoru family!!
    GO Heels and GO JASON!!

  • momof2 Mar 25, 2007

    t-dot: Your comment was in very poor taste. Life is to be respected and treasured. Thoughts and Prayers for Jason and his family.

  • Res Mar 25, 2007

    t-dot, if you've ever made fun of a kid in critical condition, we not only know what you might be, we know what you are.

  • thrasher3 Mar 25, 2007

    Ya know.... this has got to be tough on the family.... NOT ONLY is their son in critical condition BUT he is that far away from home..... that is just terrible.... I wish the best for him and his family

  • computer trainer Mar 25, 2007

    Snoopy, what kind of Bread is Tarheel Bread?

    Has anyone heard an update on this young man?

  • tmbhill Mar 25, 2007

    Since Jason is an integral part of the UNC athletic program, I am so pleased to hear that Dick Baddour has found the time to visit Jason's family. Even though Roy Williams is greatly involved with the basketball team, I hope he finds the time to do the same.

    Jason our thoughts and continued prayers are with you and wish you a complete recovery.

  • JustDontUnderstandPpl Mar 25, 2007

    I am a State Fan forever and ever (amen) but I wish Jason all the best and will be praying for him and his family, as well as the driver.

  • Jaycee Mar 25, 2007

    I visited a Church today for the first time and one of the first prayers was for this young man and his family. From words spoken of Jason this morning he is an extremely fine, young man and his family's faith is strong. Prayers are up for a speedy recovery.

  • Rocknhorse Mar 25, 2007

    Wishing him a speedy and full recovery!

  • Snoopy Mar 25, 2007

    Imma Tarheel born Imma Tarheel bread and when I die I'll be a Tarheel Dead!! When one of us Tarheels hurt, we all hurt! God Bless and praying for a speedy recovery !!!!