Friends 'devastated' by Belarusian student's death

By Meggan Clark

SCARBOROUGH (July 17, 2008): An 18-year-old Belarusian student who dreamed of being a journalist and raising a large family is being mourned by friends and coworkers in Scarborough after her tragic death.

Sviatlana "Sveta" Auseichyk was stuck by a motorist July 3 on Route 1 as she bicycled home from work with two friends. She died July 9 at Maine Medical Center, Scarborough police said.

The driver of the vehicle that hit her, 20-year-old Peter Juarez of Scarborough, has not been charged with any crime. Police said the accident remains under investigation. A woman at Juarez's home hung up on attempts to reach him for comment.

Auseichyk was one of five Belarusian students working at the Dunstan Schoolhouse Restaurant on Route 1 through a summer work-study program, manager Jerry Tourigny said. She and several other students were living at the Blue Haven Motor Court, where they were headed at about 7:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.

Lena Maiseyeva, 19, Auseichyk's close friend and college roommate, witnessed the accident. She said the car seemed to come from nowhere.

"I can say that when the driver hit her, he stopped in two or three seconds after that," she said. "We didn't see this car."

Auseichyk was conscious and talking to paramedics after the accident and was expected to survive her injuries, but died from complications at about 1:30 a.m. July 9, Tourigny said. Her mother, who had flown in from Belarus to care for her daughter, returned to Belarus July 12 with her body.

A message board sign outside the restaurant memorialized "Sveta" this week, teddy bears and balloons piled at the base. Staff members wore purple ribbons in her honor.

Tourigny said Auseichyk's coworkers were "devastated" by the tragedy.

"She was a very smart girl, very bright," he said. "We only really knew her a short time but it was easy to see that she had a little something special about her - a little bounce in her step."

Auseichyk was a sweet person who took care of everyone and made friends easily, but also had big dreams for her future, those who knew her said.

"After finishing the university, she wanted to have an advanced degree in economics or journalism," Maiseyeva said. "She wanted to become a journalist. She wanted to find a great husband, handsome and kind. She wanted to have many children."

Belarus, a constituent republic of the former Soviet Union, attained its independence in 1991.

In the motel where the foreign students lived together, Auseichyk took care of everyone, washing the dishes and doing much of the housework as a matter of course, her friend said.

"On the whole, I think that this person, she did not have bad qualities," Maioseyeva said. "It might sound strange, but it is really so."

Investigating Officer Don Laughlin said it has not been determined whether drugs, alcohol or speed played a role in the accident, which remains under investigation. He said the case will be referred to the district attorney for possible prosecution when the investigation is complete. He declined to say what charges Juarez might face.

Tourigny said Ausiechyk is survived by her parents in Belarus and two older half-siblings.

Maiseyeva said she and the other students plan to finish their stay in Scarborough despite the tragedy.

"It is a mix of feelings. I want to return to Belarus to be with her parents," she said. "(But) I lost Svietlana here. That's why I want to stay here."