Fearing Street, near UMass/Amherst
On Friday November 16 at 23:43 hours (11:43 PM) an Amherst Fire Department ambulance responded to Fearing Street, a well-traveled route students use to get to or from a party.
A vibrant young woman, out with friends for a night of fun (that, naturally, involved alcohol) fell, hitting her head on unforgiving concrete.
When paramedics arrived, she was unconscious. Standard AFD practice for a an unconscious patient due to head trauma is to bypass nearby Cooley Dickinson Hospital and go all the way to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.
Two months ago on a particularly rowdy party weekend a young male student, out drinking with his friends in the late night hours, fell near the Newman Center hitting his head and was rushed unconscious to Baystate Critical Care Unit. Fire Department personnel were amazed when he was released the following afternoon, having earlier stated somberly it "did not look good."
This time, however, it was not good. This time the young student died. Sydne Ilyse Jacoby was only 19. She leaves behind a mother, father, brother and 837 friends on Facebook. 500 mourners turned out for the funeral service. Her local newspaper described her as "an angel."
That mid-November weekend AFD transported five students from the UMass campus to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital for being ETOH, a shorthand code for ethanol -- drinking alcohol -- or in these particular cases, way too much of it.
Amherst Police also busted three party houses that weekend, arresting nine "college aged youth" for noise and nuisance infractions. One house with four arrests were all young woman.
At another of the houses a 17-year-old girl was arrested for being a minor in possession of alcohol, partying with over 500 young adults packed into one family house only zoned for four tenants.
Police also arrested a drunk driver who almost ran over an officer who had stopped another vehicle.
All in all, sad to say, in the picturesque college town of Amherst, home to three institutes of higher education, a rather routine weekend. Now suddenly, sadly, made far from typical.
Until it happens again.