DARTMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - A freshman UMass Dartmouth student was hit and killed by a vehicle on campus Thursday evening, according to the Bristol County DA’s office.
Campus police responded to a report of a motor vehicle that struck a pedestrian around 5:30 p.m. Officers found 19-year-old Frank Petillo Jr. lying in the roadway on Ring Road with serious injuries.
Petillo was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Campus police say a fellow student was behind the wheel of the car that struck the victim, and that the driver had remained on scene. It is unclear if they will face any charges.
While the crash remains under investigation, friends and community members have been remembering Petillo, including the university’s Student Alumni Association, which posted on Instagram “You will be missed and we will keep loving you.”
“He was supposed to spend four years here, now he can’t even finish out the the first year – he was a freshman. That is said – this is sad.” said student Zoe LaMountain.
According to a statement from Chancellor Mark Fuller, Petillo was a first-year Bioengineering student.
“This has been a very difficult week for the Corsair community,” Fuller said. “We feel a collective pain even if we do not personally know those who have passed. We sit in class together. We work together. We pass each other in the halls. We are often more connected than we realize. If you need support, please reach out to someone.”
“Please keep Frank’s family, friends, and classmates in your thoughts and prayers,” Fuller added. “He will be sorely missed.”
The university is providing additional hours at the Counseling Center on Friday for those who may need it.
The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life also has campus ministers from several faith traditions who are providing confidential pastoral counseling.
A candlelight vigil will be held for Petillo on Monday at 8 p.m. on the campus quad in front of the Claire T. Carney Library. The vigil will also honor the life of Alexandra Landry, a master’s program student who passed away earlier in the week.
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