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6 university students charged in young woman's death


When young people go off to college, the combination of newfound freedom from parental constraints and easily accessible alcohol can lead to serious -- and sometimes deadly -- errors in judgment. Six students at the University of Connecticut are facing various criminal charges after a 19-year-old woman was fatally struck by a fire department truck belonging to the university last October.

The six men, all fraternity brothers, are 21 and 22 years old. They've been charged with permitting a minor possess alcohol illegally, possession of alcohol by a minor and sale or delivery of alcohol to minors.

The fraternity they belonged to, Kappa Sigma, had already lost its recognition and housing at UConn due to other incidents that occurred off-campus last year. It lost its charter this February.

The fatal incident occurred while the young woman was seated on the ground leaning against a garage door at the university's Public Safety Complex around 1:15 a.m. when the department received a call. Police say that when the fire department vehicle, a Chevy Tahoe, left the garage, it drove over her. The crews didn't realize what had occurred until they returned from their call approximately 90 minutes later.

The young woman, who died from injuries to her head and torso according to the medical examiner's office was a sophomore at UConn, aspiring to be a nurse. She was reportedly in the process of joining a sorority.

The fraternity said in a statement, "Any members who were associated with the former chapter…are expected to cooperate with any and all investigations by the University or the local authorities. Kappa Sigma will hold accountable any member found to have violated our Code of Conduct or any federal, state or local laws."

They are all still currently enrolled at UConn. It hasn't been made public whether they have or will face disciplinary action by school authorities. Their arraignment in court is scheduled for March 8. It hasn't been announced whether the young woman's family will take civil action against the young men. The family's attorney said, however, "There remain many unanswered questions regarding her death."

Allegations of criminal actions against college students can have ramifications that impact their academic future and their entire lives. It's essential to seek experienced legal guidance when facing such allegations.

Source: NBC Connecticut, "6 Linked to Death of UConn Student Hit By Fire Vehicle Arrested," Feb. 25, 2017