Fire call that resulted in Conn. student's death was false alarm

Just before she was struck, Jeffny Pally was "seated on the ground with her back against the exterior portion" of one of the doors at the back of fire dept.'s garage


By Vinny Vella
The Hartford Courant

STORRS, Conn. — The fire call that resulted in a UConn student's death Sunday was a false alarm, the university said Wednesday.

A university spokeswoman said it hasn't been determined if the alarm's activation was the result of a malfunction.

Jeffny Pally death's was the result of blunt trauma to the head and torso and ruled an accident, a spokeswoman from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Wednesday.

Pally, 19, was run over by a Chevy Tahoe driven by a member of the UConn Fire Department about 1 a.m. Sunday as the driver was responding to a call for service, state police have said.

That service call originated from a campus-owned building about 200 yards from the fire station, UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said Wednesday. When fire personnel arrived at the scene, they found no fire and reset the alarm that triggered the call.

Just before she was struck, Pally was "seated on the ground with her back against the exterior portion" of one of the doors at the back of fire department's garage, according to the state police report.

As the Tahoe's driver, Capt. Dana Barrow Jr., the shift commander, was preparing to respond to the call at 100 North Eagleville Road, the doors opened, causing Pally to fall backward. Barrow's Tahoe ran over Pally, killing her, the report says. Authorities have not said whether they've determined why Pally was seated behind the fire station.

When the personnel, including Barrow, returned from the call after a "relatively short amount of time," they found Pally's body, Reitz added. She was unclear what time they returned. They performed first aid and notified UConn police.

UConn police in turn notified the Tolland state's attorney's office. Investigators from that office then called in state police, who responded about 2:48 a.m., Grant said.

Results from toxicology tests on Pally and Barrow were pending Wednesday. Barrow has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation into Pally's death continues. That probe is being handled by state police's Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Squad at the request of Matthew C. Gedansky, the Tolland state's attorney, according to Trooper Kelly Grant.

Troopers handling the case were working Wednesday to gather surveillance from the area near the garage, as well as interview people who were with Pally during her final hours.

Copyright 2016 The Hartford Courant

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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