Six University of Connecticut students were charged Friday with alcohol-related offenses related to the death of an Indian American student, Jeffny Pally, a 19-year-old Sophomore studying nursing, from West Hartford, CT, who was run over by a fire department vehicle after leaving a party last fall.
The students had been hosting an off-campus party at a fraternity-affiliated house Oct. 16 during homecoming weekend. Police say Pally had been sitting with her back against a garage door of the UConn Public Safety Complex at around 1 a.m. when she was run over by a fire vehicle responding to a call that turned out to be a false alarm. Two additional students have been charged in connection with the false alarm, reported CBS News.
Pally’s body wasn’t found until about 30 minutes later when firefighters returned. She died from injuries to her head and torso, the medical examiner’s office determined. The driver of the vehicle hasn’t been charged and the tragedy was ruled an accident.
The charged students are Patrick Callahan, Matthew Moll, Dylan Morose, Austin Custodio, Dominic Godi and Jonathan Polansky. They range in age from 21 to 22 and are from Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Some were charged with permitting a minor to illegally possess alcohol.
They were all released pending their arraignment in Superior Court in Rockville on March 8. UConn said all but Godi were seniors, CBS affiliate WFSB reports.
The university noted the Kappa Sigma fraternity recently lost its recognition and housing due to off-campus incidents in September and October unrelated to Pally’s death. The fraternity’s national office also has revoked the local group’s charter.
“Jeffny Pally was a talented, ambitious, promising young woman and her death was a terrible tragedy,” the university said. “The entire university community joins her family and friends in continuing to mourn her loss.”
An arrest warrant revealed Pally had been with her sorority sisters from Delta Gamma during the day, WFSB reports. They were working on a homecoming float and then, she met back up with them later that evening in a dorm where they were drinking before heading to a fraternity party in Manchester hosted by Kappa Sigma.
When police interviewed some of those arrested, they told investigators they did have a fraternity party, but said there was a bouncer hired to check identifications and give wristbands to make sure only those over 21 were drinking.
But, eyewitnesses told police “there were approximately 50 people there and nobody was wearing wrist bands.” Another eyewitness said
According to the arrest warrant, Pally’s blood alcohol level was 0.25 that’s more than three times the legal limit.
The parents of Jeffny Pally spoke to Eyewitness News and described their daughter as “compassionate,” [and] “beautiful, inside and out,” with a “smile that could light up a room.”
Jeffny Pally’s mother, Shiny Pally, and her father, Abraham Pally, cautioned their daughter — a nursing student, who was involved in multiple sports, in countless organizations, and sorority sister at Gamma Delta, was “overbooked.” The couple told Eyewitness News that Jeffny would often reassure them that she could juggle it all.
“We still haven’t seen our child”, said Shiny Pally. “Can you imagine that?” When just weeks ago, Pally was visiting home, they said, indulging on some of her favorite Indian food. “She had high hopes and very hardworking, very compassionate. She always put others first.”
The Mayor of West Hartford, Shari Cantor offered her condolences to the grieving family.
“My heart is broken for her family, friends, and for the entire community. This is such a tragic loss. Jeffny was a sweet, intelligent, and beautiful young lady who brightened up everyone around her. She was a dear friend of my son and our family. I extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to her family,” said Mayor Cantor.
The parents told told Eyewitness News that their daughter was a homebody, and chose UConn because of the proximity to home.
“She wants to see us all the time,” said Abraham Pally. “She didn’t even apply anywhere else.”