Six students from the University of Connecticut have avoided jail time as a judge has issued a special probation allowing the students to complete a program instead of serving jail time.
The students were charged with allowing a minor to possess alcohol and related offenses for hosting an off-campus party at a house affiliated with Kappa Sigma fraternity leading to the death of a fellow student in October 2016.
According to multiple witnesses, 19-year-old Jeffny Pally attended the party and had walked herself to the fire department’s facility afterwards before she was run over by the vehicle after she fell asleep in front of the University of Connecticut Fire Department’s facility on its Storrs campus.
Her parents, Abraham and Shiny Chemmarappally, of West Hartford, filed a lawsuit against the driver and the state claiming that their “negligence and carelessness” had led to Pally’s death.
“The Chemmarappally family deeply mourns the death of their daughter and sister, Jeffny Pally. There remain many unanswered questions regarding her death. It is the sincere hope of the Chemmarappallys that the investigation of this tragic event may be the first step towards the development of measures to prevent any other family from having to experience a similar tragedy” Michael J. Walsh, the attorney who filed the suit, said in a statement Monday.
According to a Hartford Courant report, the family alleges that Dana E. Barrow Jr., the firefighter who struck Pally, operated his Chevrolet Tahoe “in a reckless, willful and wanton manner, and in a manner that showed reckless and malicious disregard for the safety of other persons” because he didn’t immediately stop after hitting Pally.
University of Connecticut’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Reitz said that the university was unable to comment on the situation.
State Police said that at the time of death, Pally’s blood alcohol level was .25, which is three times the state’s legal limit and her death was ruled as an accident caused by blunt-force trauma, according to the office of the chief medical examiner.
Also it was reported that a surveillance video shows Pally collapsed against one of the garage doors and was there for about 20 minutes before Barrow entered his SUV and opened the garage door allowing her to fall backwards.
Barrow told police that he had felt a bump as he pulled out of the garage to respond to a fire alarm at a nearby dorm, but thought he had only run over some firefighting equipment as he was unable to see what was on the ground through his rear view mirror.
According to police documents, he didn’t realize that he had struck Pally until he returned about 30 minutes later and found her body.
The Hartford Courant reported that Matthew Gedansky, the state’s attorney for Tolland, said Barrow has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the case.
“The accident reconstruction investigation determined that the firefighter could not see Ms. Pally in the position she was in. We measured the line of sight, we recreated the incident and there’s no possible way he could have seen her,” Gedansky told the Courant on Friday.
According to the University of Connecticut, the Kappa Sigma fraternity has been suspended from the campus since the incident.