UConn student killed by university fire vehicle

A firefighter responding to the call in an SUV ran her over.


STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — A University of Connecticut student was hit and killed by an emergency fire vehicle on the Storrs campus early Sunday morning.

Police say 19-year-old Jeffny Pally, of West Hartford, was sitting on the ground with her back against a garage door of the UConn Public Safety Complex just after 1 a.m. When an emergency call came in and the door opened, Pally fell back onto the ground. The firefighter responding to the call in an SUV ran her over.

Pally’s cousin, Atul Sajan, says she was talented and loved helping others. She ran cross country and was involved with the sorority Delta Gamma on campus. She also worked at a restaurant in West Hartford.

“No one can handle it because she was so young,” said Sajan. “She was full of life and she was so lovable. Everyone loved her.”

The firefighter is now on administrative duty during the investigation and is not responding to calls.

The campus community is also grieving. Students are shaken that something like this could happen to one of their classmates.

“We don’t really know how to feel because that was really, really sudden,” said Karla Garcia, a senior.

“This is the second death of the semester,” said sophomore Camila Vallejo. “We don’t come to college to die. It’s very upsetting…everyone just needs support. Everyone just needs somebody to lean on right now and I think as Huskies that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Pally was a sophomore who hoped to become a nurse. Sajan had last talked with her a little over a week ago.

“She had so many friends, so many activities. There’s so many ways I remember her by,” said Sajan.

UConn released the following statement from President Susan Herbst on the death of Pally:

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 Police officials, in consultation with the State’s Attorney’s Office, have asked Connecticut State Police to investigate the incident,” said University Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. “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.

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.