Tufts alum Paul Farris (LA ’06) was killed in Somerville on May 27 after a driver fleeing from the police hit a taxi he was riding in with his girlfriend. Farris was 23.
An avid music enthusiast, he was the lead singer of the respected indie band theMark, which is comprised of almost entirely of Tufts alumni. Members of the group came together while at Tufts, and in 2004 they won the Battle of the Bands and earned the right to open at the Spring Fling concert that was headlined by The Roots.
Jordan DeLiso (LA ’07), theMark’s drummer, said that Farris was the key to the band’s success. “We got most of our energy from Paul because the singer is the frontman in [a] band whether they acknowledge it or not, and he took that position even off-stage,” he said.
DeLiso remembers Farris as a truly inspirational and welcoming person who drew from a wide range of sources to write intelligent music. “[He was] constantly thinking, analyzing everything and you can really tell that in his lyrics,” he said. “Nobody I know wrote or sang like he did. His lyrics were basically like his thoughts on the world turned into a story involving mythical characters and references to Dante and all that stuff,” DeLiso said.
He said that these lyrics translated into rousing performances. “It was beautiful watching him just totally go nuts on stage and be so into what he was about and what he was singing,” DeLiso said.
Apart from his role in his band, during his senior year at Tufts Farris was also the chair of AppleJam, a student group that brings concerts to campus.
Rising junior Daniel Stern, who served as a co-chair for AppleJam this past year, echoed DeLiso’s thoughts, referring to his predecessor “an incredibly nice guy” who was “very passionate about music.”
University President Lawrence Bacow called Farris’ death the tragic end to a promising life. “It is always difficult to lose someone so young and so talented. And to lose him so senselessly only compounds the tragedy,” he said in an e-mail to the Daily. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
The car chase that led to Farris’ death began when a state trooper spotted Javier Morales, 29, of Somerville, cutting off traffic in Everett.
When the trooper tried to pull Morales over, he allegedly sped away, following a route that brought him into Davis Square and onto College Avenue. Jessica LeBlanc, Morales’ pregnant girlfriend, was in the car with him. The chase ended when Morales slammed into the cab that Farris and his girlfriend Katelyn Hoyt were in at the intersection of Kidder Avenue and Highland Road in Somerville.
According to the Somerville Journal, Morales was driving with a suspended license at the time of the accident, something of he had already been convicted on twice prior to Sunday’s accident. He has also been convicted of several other crimes including assault and battery and breaking and entering.
As of Friday morning, Hoyt and taxi driver Walid Chahine were both in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a spokesperson for the hospital’s Public Affairs Office told the Daily.
Morales and LeBlanc both survived the crash, and Morales was arraigned in his hospital room at MGH earlier this week.
According to the Boston Globe, he is charged with vehicular homicide and a litany of other offenses related to the incident.