LAWRENCE — Samuel Githiabii suffered dizziness and a headache before he pulled over on the Massachusetts Turnpike and fell to his death in the Sudbury River in Framingham last week, a family spokesperson said.
Family spokesman Karanja Kimani said the 30-year-old native of Thika, Kenya, was on his way from Boston to a friend's baby shower in Worcester. He was traveling with two friends.
"According to one of the guys, he started feeling dizzy and he had a serious headache," said family spokesman Karanja Kimani. "Little did he know that he had stopped over the bridge."
Githiabii pulled over and scraped his car against the guardrail on the side of the highway and got out to inspect the damage, according to Kimani.
"I guess he tipped over the rail, over the bridge and just plunged over the river, that is according to eyewitnesses," Kimani said.
Githiabii's friends called 911 on their cell phone. Rescue crews found Githiabii's body in the Sudbury River about a quarter mile away at 3 p.m. the following day.
Police do not suspect foul play, said Corey Welford, a spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.
Now, Githiabii's family and friends are trying to raise money to pay for his funeral expenses and to have his parents, Mary Wangui and Ephraim Ditonga, fly to Massachusetts from Kenya for the services. They are also establishing a trust fund for Githiabii's 4-year-old son, Joseph "Jo Jo" Ndungu.
"The child he leaves behind will be his legacy, and so we are opening the trust fund for the son," Kimani said.
They had two fundraisers in Lowell over the weekend, and they hope to make the funeral arrangements this week. Githiabii also leaves behind a brother, Francis Githiabii, and a sister, Cecilia Jemimah Njeri, both of Lynn, Kimani said.