Driver Cited in April Death of UMass Dartmouth Student
An "individual" has been cited in the death of a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth freshman who died after being struck by a vehicle while walking near his dormitory on campus last April.
Frank Anthony Petillo, Jr., 19, of Manahawkin, New Jersey, was struck while walking along Ring Road in front of the Balsam Dormitory just after 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, 2023.
Gregg Miliote, Director of Communications for Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn, confirmed the citation to WBSM.
"We've completed our investigation, and an individual has been cited," Miliote said.
"A citation has been filed with the New Bedford District Court clerk's office potentially charging the individual with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle," he said.
According to Miliote, a clerk magistrate will conduct a hearing, most likely within a month, "to determine if probable cause exists to issue a formal criminal charge."
WCVB-TV Channel 5 reported in April that Quinn's office said the vehicle that struck Petillo was a gray Honda Accord operated by another student.
While Miliote would not identify the potential defendant pending the magistrate's hearing, WCVB previously reported that "Police records show that the driver, Danasia Sampson, was a UMass Dartmouth student who was also a resident assistant in the dorm where Frankie lived."
Following Petillo's death, the UMass Dartmouth student newspaper The Torch issued an editorial demanding immediate safety improvements on campus. The university has already implemented many of those demands, including more crosswalks, speed bumps and the addition of more sidewalks.
A WBSM article in April offered a little insight into who Frank Petillo, Jr. was. It's worth a read, as he appeared to be a remarkable young man.