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Investigators: alcohol not involved in band member's crash

Monday, September 06, 2010

A big Fresno State Football victory ended in tragedy after a member of the Bulldog Marching Band was killed on his way home from celebrating Saturday night.

Freshman Nathan Ray, 18, died after the Subaru Forester he was driving rolled over and hit a telephone pole off of Freeway 168 near Shepherd.

Investigators say alcohol was not involved in the crash.

Nathan's father told Action News Saturday night was really a highlight for his son and their entire family. The band director says his death has really hit the band hard, especially the tuba section.

The Bulldog Marching Band gave it their all Saturday- despite the sweltering heat. After weeks of practicing, Nathan Ray proudly put on his uniform and strutted onto the field to perform in front of thousands.

Band Director Timothy Anderson says the tuba section was especially pumped up about the game being televised across the nation. "In the hours before our call time, some of them had the funny idea of making because the game was going to be on ESPN of spelling out ESPN on the bells of their tuba. So they were all excited about that. I know he was really having a good time."

For a short time, ESPN showed footage of the Bulldog Band and the tubas were in it swaying back and forth.

Anderson says Nathan's death has stunned the tight knit group. Although he was a freshman, Nathan was well liked and respected. His talent had earned him a scholarship. Saturday was a day everyone in the band looked forward to.

"We had a long rehearsal Saturday morning and they had been pushed basically nonstop and for three weeks we told them, here comes the pay day home game against Cincinnati, big time opponent and not only to win the game but the band performed very well and it was just such an exciting day that it was just pure energy and adrenaline all evening," Anderson said.

After the game Nathan and dozens of other band members had pizza and soda at Double Play Pizza in Clovis, he was on his way home when CHP officers say Nathan's car drifted over on Freeway 168 and hit a telephone pole hear Shepherd. He died a short time later.

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fresno county, california state university fresno, espn, local, sontaya rose
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