Pennsylvania Turnpike Car Accident Kills PSU Student, Injures Six Others
A single car accident in Chester County along the Pennsylvania Turnpike has resulted in the deaths of one passenger, as well as injuries to sixth others. The accident, which happened in the early afternoon on Sunday, resulted in the death of Vitalya Sepot, 19 years old and an active member of Pennsylvania State University, who was driving back from a fundraising campaign in Philadelphia in support of a student-run philanthropy known as Thon.
The 2004 Envoy SUV involved in the single car accident in Charlestown Township swerved abruptly at least once into the shoulder of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Chester County, according to surviving passengers and witnesses. In what appeared to be an incident over correcting this abrupt maneuver into the shoulder, the driver then executed an even more abrupt swerve back onto the highway, causing the SUV to overturn, according to police officials. By the time emergency responders arrived at the scene of the SUV flip over accident, the 2004 Envoy was wedged against the turnpike guardrail, landing upright ultimately. In the course of the SUV rollover accident, passenger Sepot, of Brandford, Connecticut, was ejected during the accident and pronounced dead at the scene.
The remaining six passengers, whose conditions are unknown at this time but were ultimately discharged late Sunday evening according to Paoli hospital spokespersons, were transported to Paoli Hospital with what officials described at the time as non-life threatening accident trauma. State police officials identified those surviving the rollover accident as fellow students of Sepot, who were all traveling together as part of a collaborative project between the Tau Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Chi Omega Greek organizations at State University in connection with their ongoing Thon project, which seeks to raise funds and awareness to combat childhood cancer. Thon executive director, Katie Mailey, issued a press statement on behalf of all participants in the Thon organization offering their condolences to both the deceased, as well as the injured students while promising to honor the memory of Sepot for her service and support of the organization. Thon, a national organization, raising over $127 million dollars for pediatric cancer medical research and patient support programs since 1977, facilitates student-led philanthropic drives seeking donations in cities across the nation. Sepot, as well as other students from State University, were engaged in a “canning” weekend in the Philadelphia are on behalf of this ongoing project as part of their membership to their respective Greek organizations on campus.
Likewise, university officials for student affairs issued statements indicating a deep grief over the tragedy, a strong concern for the long-term well-being of those students injured in the rollover accident, and found themselves describing the loss of Sepot as a student and philanthropic activist as a “terrible loss” mourned by the entire university community.
While the accident itself was observed by several witnesses, State Police continue to investigate the exact cause of the accident, including what led to the abrupt correction and over correction in the SUV rollover accident. The accident itself, as well as the emergency response to the rollover, caused the closure of the Pennsylvania Turnpike all Sunday afternoon between Downingtown and King of Prussia, as officials then began conducting an investigation into the cause of the accident, which is still as of yet undetermined.