STORRS - Family, friends, and fellow students are mourning the loss of a University of Connecticut student who died after being struck by a fire department SUV in an accident on campus early Sunday morning.
State police said the accident happened at the UConn Fire Department Public Safety complex on the Storrs campus.
Jeffny Pally, 19, of West Hartford was sitting with her back against an overhead garage door outside the Public Safety complex, police said. Firefighters received a call at 1:13 a.m. and the Department Shift Commander, Dana Barrow, Jr., opened the door to exit the building and drive out in a UConn Fire Department Chevy Tahoe. Police said Pally fell back and the Tahoe drove over her. When the firefighters returned from the call, they found Pally.
Barrow has been placed in an administrative duty position and will not respond to calls while the incident is under investigation, according to state police.
"Every student is precious to us, and this is a heartbreaking and tragic loss. 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," UConn President Susan Herbst said in a statement.
A fellow sophomore, Kadeem Richards, said the sudden passing has him appreciating life.
"Reflect on your life and appreciate the life that you have," Richards said.
Other students are also feeling her loss.
"It's always like terrible to hear someone on campus died cause like you don't expect it, and everyone is like young and healthy usually so it's kind of like heart breaking," said Aishwarya Mogulothu, a sophomore.
Pally was a 2015 Hall High School graduate, where she was an honor roll student and AP scholar. She was majoring in the Allied Health Science program at UConn. She was an RA, a member of Delta Gamma sorority and a student leader in Community Outreach.
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.
There is a vigil scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. on Fairfield Way by Gamble Pavillion at UConn.
Anybody with information about the accident or of Pally's activities prior to the accident is asked to call police at 203-630-8079.