CLEVELAND - The family of Kent State University student JJ Marino says a rainbow appeared outside of his hospital room when he died from injuries sustained during a car crash in Alabama.
The senior accounting major Joseph "JJ" Marino was on spring break with friends when the accident happened.
Alabama State Troopers say Marino was a passenger inside the Ford Escape that collided with a Freightliner on I-65 north Saturday afternoon in Autauga County.
Marino, 23, of Parma, was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the SUV, authorities say. He died later at Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery.
On Facebook, Marino's cousin/godmother posted the above photo with the caption:
"Joseph John (JJ) Marino 6/16/89-3/31/13. My beloved godson JJ Marino died today at 5:26 pm CT. At the same time, we captured this rainbow outside the hospital window. It's his way of saying he is okay."
The Marino family released this statement:
"Thank you for all the support for JJ and our family over the past two days. I am JJ's godmother and am blessed enough to be with him in Alabama where he was cared for after the accident. Please take comfort in knowing when we lost him last night, he was surrounded by his mother, father, brother Michael Marino, sister Allyson Marino, his aunt, uncle, his cousin Amy and godparents. Moreover, his dear friends never left him and remained with us until the end. In the next couple of days, we will be bringing him home to Parma, Ohio where we will honor his memory, celebrate his life and lay him to rest."
Four others in the SUV were injured, including driver Nader Hassen, 22, and passengers Lamar Washington, 23; Michael Willis, 25; and Joseph Noah, 22. All four are expected to fully recover.
Kent State released the following statement Monday morning:
The Kent State community is sad to learn of the passing of Joseph J. ("JJ") Marino, one of our students, following a car accident in Alabama. 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. Counselors are available through University Health Services for those who need support during this difficult time.