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DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Dartmouth has taken safety precautions after a student was hit and killed by a car on campus last week.
Frank Petillo Jr., 19, was hit by an oncoming car while crossing Ring Road Thursday evening. Petillo was rushed to the hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The driver, who authorities confirmed is also a student, remained on scene and is cooperating with the investigation.
Petillo’s death has highlighted a need for enhanced pedestrian safety along Ring Road, where numerous students have expressed concerns. Students created a petition calling for pedestrian safety improvements on campus over the weekend, which has garnered more than 5,000 signatures.
UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Mark Fuller addressed those concerns Monday.
“I hear you,” he wrote in an email to students, faculty and staff. “All of us want a campus where our living and learning communities feel safe.”
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Fuller has already asked for a number of safety enhancements be implemented immediately, including the installation of portable speed bumps and speed limit signs. The university has also requested an increased police presence to deter speeding through the end of the school year.
Permanent speed-detecting signs will eventually be installed along Ring Road, and Fuller said the university plans on creating a secure pedestrian walkway between the Oak Glen Hall and the Woodlands apartments.
Fuller said long-term safety enhancements will likely include the installation of raised sidewalks along Ring Road.
The university is hosting a vigil for Petillo and another student who passed away suddenly last week Monday night.
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