Phi Sigma Sigma sisters involved in bus crash, no critical injuries
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 23:10
Forty female students of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority were involved in a bus crash Thursday night when a tractor-trailer struck the bus as it was heading to a Homecoming mixer in Bear, Del., according to Delaware State Police.
The bus carrying the girls was turning left from southbound Summit Bridge Road onto Howell School Road in Bear at 10:01 p.m. when it was struck by a tractor-trailer traveling north along Summit. The tractor-trailer ran a red light and crashed into the rear area of the bus, Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack said.
“It was very fortunate that it wasn’t broadsided by the tractor-trailer, which would’ve caused more intrusion into the bus and probably more severe injuries,” Shavack said.
The press release issued by Phi Sigma Sigma, found on the organization’s national website, reported New Castle County emergency crews arrived at the scene to aid those who were injured. Thirty-eight girls were taken to both Christiana Care Health System Emergency Department in Middletown and Christiana Hospital in Newark. Nine girls were taken to Christiana Hospital, and two were admitted with no life-threatening injuries.
About 30 girls suffering more minor injuries like scrapes, bruises and bumps––classified by the police code “walking wounded”––were transported to hospitals for treatment either by ambulance or private auto, Shavack said.
While the majority of the students were treated for minor injuries and released later, some stayed overnight for additional observation and treatment, as reported in the Phi Sigma Sigma press release. There were no fatalities, and none of the injuries were considered critical or life-threatening.
Neither John Faverio, 56, of Wilmington, who was driving the 2002 International bus carrying the sorority girls, nor Roberto Figueroa-Gomez, 26, the driver of the 1990 Peterbilt tractor-trailer from Miami, were harmed as they were properly restrained by seat belts, the DSP news release said.
Police reported Summit Bridge Road and Howell School Road were closed for a time due to the accident, but troopers were able to clear the intersection to reopen the road for travel.
Shavack said the first responders who arrived at the accident were impressed by how the girls handled the situation.
“Our troopers and first responders at that scene commend the cooperation and the actions of the UD students,” Shavack said. “They were helping each other, consoling each other and providing emergency care until the first responders got there.”
The DSP coordinated with the university police and officials to notify families of the incident, and together they arranged transportation back to campus, Shavack said. Figueroa-Gomez was ticketed for failing to stop for the red light, and he also received a traffic summons, police said.
The girls were headed to Aqua Sol Restaurant and Bar where they would be engaging in a Homecoming mixer with students from other chapters in Greek life. However, only sisters of the sorority––which was rechartered last semester––were on board the bus at the time of the accident, according to the Phi Sigma Sigma press release.
Members of FIJI, Kappa Delta Rho and Alpha Epsilon Phi were also attending the event on buses that were not involved in the accident, Scott Mason, senior director of University Student Centers, stated in an email message.
Currently, university staff members are assisting Phi Sigma Sigma as they address any remaining concerns, Mason said.
“The chapters were in no way responsible for what occurred in this unfortunate accident, and their leadership worked greatly with the university during the crisis,” Mason said.
In addition, other Greek chapters at the university have offered their support and have stepped up to help the sisters during this time, Mason said.
“The community at the University of Delaware has been so great about providing support for us, especially other members of the Greek community and other organizations on campus,” stated senior sister Erica Black in the Phi Sigma Sigma press release.
The sisters of the university’s chapter are using this time as a way to come closer together by expressing their support for those in need, the press release stated.
The international sorority stated its collective gratitude to the police who arrived at the scene and university officials in the press release.
International President of Phi Sigma Sigma Alicia Scott said the sisters are keeping all the girls involved in the accident in their prayers, and staffers arrived on campus to offer their personal assistance.
“The safety and well-being of our members is always the top priority,” Scott said. “We wish all of the injured parties a speedy recovery.”