Quinnipiac fails to check in with victims of shuttle crash, students say

Aidan Sheedy and Melina Khan

After a Quinnipiac University-affiliated shuttle crashed Dec. 5, with several students onboard, the victims said they are disappointed by the administration’s lack of response.

Jenna Hill, a first-year occupational therapy major, Emma Zykh, a first-year biomedical science major, and two other Quinnipiac students boarded a university-affiliated shuttle at Union Station in New Haven around 7 p.m. on Dec. 5. The bus was headed to Quinnipiac. No one was injured in the accident. 

Hill and Zykh said shortly after the shuttle driver began driving, she took a right turn from Union Avenue onto Church Street, entering a lane that was closed for construction. The road had an arrow board, which is an apparatus used to indicate to traffic where a lane is closed.

The driver, who the students said wore headphones at the time, crashed into the arrow board, leading to damage to all four windows on the right side of the shuttle. Three windows broke completely, while one shattered but remained in the original frame.

I (was) panicking because I can feel it. I tried to get the glass out without cutting myself, (but) I cut my finger and so did (Hill).

— Emma Zykh, a first-year biomedical science major

“I just remember seeing the cones and (seeing the driver) driving closer to the cone than the curb, which made me think she saw something too,” Zykh said. “I look down at my phone for one second, and all I hear is four quick noises of glass breaking.” 

Hill and Zykh said the glass completely covered them and all of their belongings, but no one on board sustained any severe injuries. They both said they later got minor cuts cleaning the glass shards off their possessions. 

“I (was) panicking because I can feel it,” Zykh said. “I tried to get the glass out without cutting myself, (but) I cut my finger and so did (Hill).”

Shortly after the shuttle operator called 911, first responders arrived at the scene. The students said the officers took down their information while firefighters tried to help clean up the broken glass. All four students and the driver were examined by Emergency Medical Technicians. The university sent a new shuttle and driver for the students around 8 p.m.

When they arrived back at Quinnipiac, Hill and Zykh said public safety officers took photos of their student IDs. However, since this interaction with public safety officers, the pair said no one from the university has contacted either of them.

Associate Vice President for Public Relations John Morgan did not make Chief of Public Safety Tony Reyes available for comment and referred to the New Haven Police Department, who has not provided The Chronicle with any further information as of publication. 

Administration also did not inform the student body of the accident. Many students were informed due to a post on the popular social media page Barstool Quinnipiac.

“Nothing, not even an email or a knock on our door asking how we are,” Hill said of the university’s inaction. “I just thought Quinnipiac would do more.”

Zykh said she was also disappointed in the lack of communication from administrators.

“I’m not happy with (the response),” Zykh said. “Once those kids get on there, it’s Quinnipiac’s responsibility. Our lives are in your hands at that point.”

Both students said the incident was traumatic for them, resulting in anguish and sleepless nights.

“We were shaken up,” Zykh said. “That night, I was nauseous, I was laying on the floor. I couldn’t get up. I was shaking. We didn’t sleep (Sunday or Monday) night.”