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Tributes flow for Bourke St victim

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos, SEPTEMBER 10, 2023. Three bunches of flowers have been left on the corner of Bourke st and Russell street in Melbourne CBD where a man was killed from a car that rampaged through Bourke street on Friday night. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
Flowers were left on the corner of Bourke St and Russell St in Melbourne’s CBD where the grandfather was killed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

Tributes are pouring in for the loving grandfather and “generous philanthropist” killed in a horror collision in Melbourne’s CBD last week.

John Haasz, 76, died on Friday after a white Toyota Aurion allegedly ran into his Hyundai at the intersection of Bourke St and Russell St.

Three pedestrians were also allegedly struck by the Toyota about 6.20pm before the vehicle allegedly “sped up” and hit two cars, killing Mr Haasz and injuring two others.

The 76-year-old, from Brunswick East, died at the scene while five other people were rushed to hospital.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos, SEPTEMBER 10, 2023. Three bunches of flowers have been left on the corner of Bourke st and Russell street in Melbourne CBD where a man was killed from a car that rampaged through Bourke street on Friday night. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
Flowers were left on the corner of Bourke St and Russell St in Melbourne’s CBD where the grandfather was killed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

Mr Haasz has since been celebrated for his work in academia as well as his prominent role within the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science.

A tribute published by Mr Haasz’s family on Wednesday remembered him as a “loyal friend to many, and generous philanthropist to education, science and the arts”.

He is survived by his three children, four grandchildren and partner, Belinda.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos, SEPTEMBER 10, 2023. Three bunches of flowers have been left on the corner of Bourke st and Russell street in Melbourne CBD where a man was killed from a car that rampaged through Bourke street on Friday night. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
A note left on the flowers wished Mr Haasz had a ‘beautiful life’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
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The alleged driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old Zain Khan, has been charged with offences including murder and attempted murder. Picture: Facebook

Dean of Science at the University of Melbourne, Moira O’Bryan, told the ABC that Mr Haasz had left his mark on the university.

“John’s passion for physics and STEM more broadly was a gift to the community and we are deeply saddened by his loss,” Professor O’Bryan said.

“The impact his initiatives have had on academic careers over decades cannot be understated and we send our care to his family.”

In 2008 the late professor donated $100,000 to the university to “support the research and educational activities of students and academics in the School of Physics”.

Mr Haasz himself completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at the university in 2006, according to a School of Physics annual report.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NewsWire Photos, SEPTEMBER 12, 2023. More flowers and messages have been left at the site in Bourke street Melbourne where a man in a car ran down pedestrians and hit other motorist on Friday night. Since the incident there has been talk of the need for more pedestrian bollards like these ones in the Bourke st mall. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling
The site of the collision in Melbourne’s CBD. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

His former Honours supervisor, Dr Andrew Melatos, said “John’s generous gift” to the Astrophysics group would allow more PhD students to collaborate and study abroad.

“The students are dreaming about the prospects already, and so am I,” he said.

Premier Daniel Andrews told the media on Sunday there was no “obvious engineering fix” that could have prevented the incident.

“We owe it to the family of that 76-year-old man who lost his life and those who are injured and those who are caught up in this,” he said.

“We owe it to all of them to try and learn from this incident and any other incident.”

The alleged driver of the vehicle, 26-year-old Zain Khan, was charged with offences including murder and attempted murder after his arrest at the scene.