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Students hospitalized after Community Action van accident

Five members of the Class of 2019 and their Community Action leader Divya Seshadri ’16 were involved in a car accidenton Sept. 8 during a Community Action Hunger trip,and three spent the night in the hospital.

The group did volunteer work on campus after the accident for the last day of the program. The group's activitiesincluded working with Sustainability at Princeton and conversations about sustainability on campus.


According to Hyunnew Choi ’19, who was one of the members of the CA Hunger group,the passenger side of the minivan Seshadri was driving was struck by a pickup truck. The pickup truck was driven by 55 year old Michael McCann, according toa press release from the Hopewell Township Police Department.

The accident took place at 9:04 p.m. at the intersection of Pennington Road and Denow Road in Hopewell Township.

Seshadri and McCann were not injured, according to the press release, and all five passengers in the minivan complained of pain and sustained minor injuries.

The collision occurred as Seshadri attempted to take a left turn at an intersection, Choi said.

According to Lt. Lance Maloney, Chief of Police at the Hopewell Township Police Department, the intersection was posted as “No Turns” and left turns were prohibited in that section of Pennington Road. He added that Seshadri was issued a summons for disregarding a traffic control signal for the improper left turn.

Seshadri and the other group leader, Deanah Hamlin '17, did not respond to multiple requests for comment, andExecutive Director of the Pace Center Kimberly de los Santos and Associate Director Elsie Scheidler deferred comment to University spokesperson MartinMbugua.


Community Action Associate Marissa Rosenberg-Carlson ’18 said that the team had agreed to keep the issue confidential and refrain from speaking about it publicly.

She added that after the day of the accident, the head of the Department of Public Safety spoke with the students of the group. DPS deferred comment to Mbugua.

“This was a traffic accident away from campus that was handled by first responders,” Mbugua said."Upon learning about the accident, University administrators were immediately available to provide support and assistance to the students."

The entire group was split into two vans on its way back from a regional CA dinner when the accident took place, Choi said. Choi was in the van driven by Hamlin, and she said the passengers in her van had a clear view of the accidentsince they were following Seshadri’s van.

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Choi said that as soon as the accident occurred, Hamlin pulled over onto the other side of the road and instructed all the freshmen to remain inside the car as she went over to help.

“We were all really, really terrified — we didn’t really know what was happening,” Choi said.

Choi added that the five students in her minivan were then given updates by their group leader. She said that of the five students injured, three seemed to have sustained more serious injuries.

“We wanted to go to the hospital but the [injured] students were actually split up into two different hospitals and they told us that we should just head back to campus,” Choi said.

Mbugua said that the decision to put the students in different hospitals was made by the first responders on site.

According to Choi, the three seriously injured students spent the night at the hospital while the other two were released very late that night after being evaluated by doctors.The remaining five students, from the other van, were taken to the Pace Center on the University campus.

Choi said that when the five uninjured students arrived at the Pace Center, they were greeted by upperclassmen who are Regional Community Action and Pace center workers, who provided them with food and talked to them to get their mind off things.

“It was just a really nice, warm environment to go to after such a traumatic experience and so we really appreciated that,” she said.“We all felt like we were really, really well taken care of. Obviously it would have been better if it [the accident] hadn’t happened but the way that the Pace Center dealt with the entire situation made it feel like everything was going to be okay.”

Community Action 2015ran from Sept. 5through Sept. 10.