Driver cited in crash that killed UMass Dartmouth freshman

A sign at UMass Dartmouth (WLNE).

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WLNE) — The driver allegedly involved in a crash that killed a UMass Dartmouth student walking on campus in April will be cited for negligent motor vehicle homicide, according to a spokesperson for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Freshman Frankie Petillo Jr. was hit by a car while crossing Ring Road on April 6. He died after being taken to St. Luke’s Hospital.

Petillo Jr., 19, was a bioengineering student at the university.

The district attorney’s office says a clerk magistrate will now decide if there is probable cause to officially criminally charge the driver.

The district attorney’s office did not identify the driver in advance of the hearing.

The decision to cite the driver was made at the conclusion of an investigation, the district attorney’s spokesperson said. Massachusetts State Police started that investigation in April.

A release from the district attorney’s office on April 7 identified the driver as a student.

After Petillo Jr.’s death, the university announced it would update Ring Road with new safety features.

Flowers left on the UMass Dartmouth campus following the crash (WLNE).

The changes included installing speed bumps, adding portable signs that show what speed drivers are going, and adding patrol cars at key points along Ring Road. The university also promised longer-term action to create a pedestrian walkway.

Students had created a petition calling for additional sidewalks, crosswalks, and speed monitors after Petillo Jr.’s death. It reached more than 7,000 signatures.

Categories: Massachusetts, News