UMass students speak out after second student is hit by car Monday night

New pictures have entered our newsroom of the vehicle police said hit the student on Massachusetts Avenue and drove off.
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:20 PM EDT
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AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Police are searching for a hit-and-run driver who struck a UMass Amherst student on campus Monday night.

New pictures have entered our newsroom of the vehicle police said hit the student on Massachusetts Avenue and drove off.

They are now asking for the public’s help in identifying the silver or white colored SUV.

Monday night, the student was seriously injured in a hit-and-run while crossing the crosswalk, and just 100 feet up the road, another student was hit and killed just a month ago.

“Makes me feel unsafe about the on-campus traffic,” said sophomore Ryan Murray.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” added sophomore Anna Biondo, “especially considering it just happened last month.”

The most recent – a twenty-year-old student using a crosswalk near Sunset Avenue on Monday night around 10:15. That car sped away after the accident, according to investigators.

Back on February 22nd, Elena Lucore was killed crossing the same road, just a short walk away.

“It’s about fifty thousand people, a lot on foot or driving, and when those two mix, things unfortunately happen,” said Steven Gagne, First Assistant District Attorney for the Northwestern District. “So, we just ask people to keep their eyes open, keep their heads up, not to be distracted, put down the cell phones, drive within the speed limit.”

UMass officials told Western Mass News that they have made changes since the first accident, lowering the speed limit on Massachusetts Avenue from 30 mph to 20 mph.

They told us that two new push-button pedestrian flashing signals are being installed on Massachusetts Avenue. Plus, the university hired a consulting firm to address pedestrian safety on campus.

In the most recent accident, permanent flashing lights and pedestrian crossing signage exist on both sides of the crosswalk, but students we spoke with agree that more needs to be done.

“I think all of the streets on campus that have cars and pedestrians should be redesigned or at least looked at, be designed better for pedestrians, at all hours of the day,” Biondo said.

One UMass Amherst student started her own petition after Elena Lucore was killed, it has already gained more than 900 signatures.

Caitlyn Fair said the goal of the petition is to get campus administrators to have a campus-wide speed limit along with raised crosswalks and speed bumps.

In the wake of these two accidents, current students said that they will be extra careful when walking to class.

“Look both ways,” said Michael Roberts.

“Yeah, we always make sure we look both ways before I cross, and thank whoever is letting me cross,” Ryan Murray added. “It’s really scary sometimes, but hopefully everyone takes more precautionary measures.”

Again, investigators asked that anyone with information on Monday night’s hit and run, contact UMass police.