KENT, Ohio -- Students at Kent State University returned to campus from spring break with heavy hearts after one of their classmates was killed in Alabama over the weekend.
A memorial was growing outside a house on Brady Street just off the Kent State University campus Monday.
"We're all in shock here about what happened," said Dan Edmondson, general manager of Bar 145, where Joseph Marino, 23, worked.
Over the weekend, Marino, of Parma, and four of his friends were returning home from a spring break trip in Florida when the car they were driving in collided with a truck in Alabama.
According to police, Marino was not wearing a seat belt. He was ejected from the Ford Escape and died Sunday from the injuries suffered in the crash.
"I just said be safe, be careful because we wanted everybody to get back to us and unfortunately, "J" didn't get back and it's just really, really sad for everybody," Edmondson said.
Marino, better known to his friends as JJ, was a senior accounting major and a 2008 graduate of Padua Franciscan High School in Parma. He was well-liked by everyone who knew him.
"I'd say fun, ton of personality, he was always happy, just a great guy to have around," said Edmondson.
When JJ Marino wasn't at class or hanging out with friends, he worked part-time at Bar 145. That is where Edmondson said he knew instantly he was pretty popular amongst his classmates.
"Everybody knew him and he would always talk to everybody; he was a great guy," Edmondson said. "He was always behind the bar so customers would talk to him, all of our bartenders loved him. He was just really well-liked. I can't say anything bad about him."
Kent State University released a statement about the passing of JJ Marino, and it reads in part:
"We express our deepest sympathy to his family and friends, many of whom showed their love and support for him on social media. The Kent State community continues to pray for all of those involved in the accident and their families."
JJ's friends and housemates returned home Monday morning after flying home from Alabama. Each one had plenty of great things to say about their friend and roommate whose life they are now sharing one letter and one picture at a time.
"We'll come together as a family and lift each other up, and I think Kent will too. Everybody knew him because he was so recognizable," Edmondson said.
Kent State University has counselors available through University Health Services for those who need the support during this difficult time.
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