Campus mourns death of UConn student struck by fire department v - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Campus mourns death of UConn student struck by fire department vehicle

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Jeffny Pally, a 19-year-old UConn student, was run over by a campus fire dept. vehicle early Sunday morning, officials said. (Pally family) Jeffny Pally, a 19-year-old UConn student, was run over by a campus fire dept. vehicle early Sunday morning, officials said. (Pally family)
Jeffny Pally was run over by a UConn fire vehicle over the weekend. (Family/WFSB photos) Jeffny Pally was run over by a UConn fire vehicle over the weekend. (Family/WFSB photos)
Students painted a memorial to Jeffny Pally in front of Shippee Hall on the UConn campus. (WFSB photo) Students painted a memorial to Jeffny Pally in front of Shippee Hall on the UConn campus. (WFSB photo)
STORRS, CT (WFSB) -

The University of Connecticut campus continued to mourn the death of a 19-year-old student on Monday.

Jeffny Pally was run over by a campus fire department SUV early Sunday morning, according to officials.

Organizers said they're planning a vigil set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. on Fairfield Way at the UConn campus in Storrs.

A lot of questions remain about the circumstances of Pally's death.

"My dad texted me, I was at work all day because he just wasn't sure what was going on," said Kenny Glazer, a student.

Glazer said he was one of many at the Storrs campus that were in shock over what happened.

"I heard when I woke up Sunday morning because my roommate told me," said Alena Bianchi, a student.

Bianchi was reminded about what happened when she walked by a memorial on Monday morning. It was a rock painted in Pally's memorial right in front of Shippee Hall.

Investigators said Pally was sitting on the ground with her back against the bay doors at UConn's fire department.

Firefighter Dana Barrow Jr. responded to a call. Officials said the 60-year-old was behind the wheel.

As the doors opened, Pally fell backwards and the exiting SUV ran over her.

It wasn't until Barrow returned around 2:50 a.m. that Pally's body was discovered.

Investigators said it's unclear why Pally was at the fire department, why she didn't hear the doors open or why Barrow didn't spot her before leaving.

Friends said Pally was with friends before this happened.

UConn president Susan Herbst released a statement on Sunday to address Pally's death.

"Every student is precious to us, and this is a heartbreaking and tragic loss," she said. "Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and all those whose lives she touched. We know that words cannot begin to express their grief."

University spokesperson Stephanie Reitz told Eyewitness News that UConn police, the state's attorney's office and state police are investigating what happened.

"UConn will do everything it can to assist. State police will be the primary agency releasing information on the incident itself and the subsequent findings, which will be reviewed by the state’s attorney," Reitz said. "UConn is encouraging students to utilize assistance available through its Counseling & Mental Health Services, and for faculty and staff to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if they seek support."

See photos of how family and the UConn campus are remembering Pally here.

Pally's parents said they're trying to focus on their beloved daughter and the wonderful woman she was.

She was a West Hartford native who graduated from Hall High School in 2015. She played basketball, soccer and ran cross country.

When it came to choosing a college, her parents said family was so important that Pally only applied to UConn.

Her parents said their daughter quickly joined campus groups and activities from the Delta Gamma Sorority to the Indian Students Association and Community Outreach.

Pally was studying to become a nurse practitioner.

On Monday, the medical examiner said Pally died from being run over, citing blunt injuries to the torso and head. The toxicology report is not public record.

Barrow was placed in an administrative role, according to the university. He has not responded to calls.

Pally's sorority has also not commented.

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