North East Street
UPDATE: April 9, 2015
The driver has been indicted in the death of Hanna Frilot
Exactly what went wrong late on a Thursday night in a sleepy part of town, culminating in a fatal merging of fast moving metal and tender flesh may never be known ... exactly.
What we do know for sure is a promising 20-year-old, Dean's List, UMass engineering student, Hannah Frilot, died almost instantly while walking with a friend northbound along North East Street. The scenic road has no sidewalks and no streetlights near where the tragedy occurred.
Hannah Frilot, age 20
As is usual in the case of a fatality, authorities are releasing precious little information. But since the driver has not been charged with speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle or driving under the influence, safe bet the months long investigation will simply conclude it was a tragic accident.
First responders have their own set of priorities when it comes to emergency dispatch calls. "Box alarm" -- a credible report of a structure fire -- will mobilize responders in a heartbeat. As does reports of a "car vs pedestrian."
A total of 13 APD staff responded to the call. 2300 = 11:00 PM, PI= Personal Injury
Ms. Frilot was pronounced "dead at the scene," meaning the injuries were obviously extensive. First responders -- police or EMS -- cannot officially pronounce death, but they do have the authority to not initiate care.
Especially in the case of "obvious death" brought on by destruction of the heart or brain. Or a scene best described in one word: "gruesome."
In the event of a fire or emergency medical incident AFD always has command and control at the scene. But once EMS personnel have concluded there's "no patient in need of medical care," the accident scene is released to APD for their investigation.
And leaving the deceased undisturbed at the scene rather than moving the remains to an ambulance can greatly aid the police in their investigation. Hence no high speed transport to Bay State Medical Center in Springfield.
Note old style guard rails along roadside, no sidewalk, no streetlights. 220 North East is house on left. camera traveling north at 40 MPH (posted speed limit)
Already this tragedy is being used for political purposes on social media, suggesting sad incidents like this will only increase if The Retreat, a high-end housing project targeting UMass students, is built in northeast Amherst.
A bit of a stretch considering this accident scene is two miles away from the proposed Retreat, a distance not usually considered walkable to the average college student. All the more reason public officials need to be as transparent as possible with sensitive cases like this.
Balancing the public's right to know with the rights of family and friends to grieve in private is always extremely difficult.
Anytime there's even the slightest chance of illuminating facts that could lead to changes in behavior (or infrastructure improvements) to avoid a tragic recurrence, the answer is clear.