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Princeton first-year passes after NJ Transit incident at Faculty Road crossing

A tree with many white flowers in bloom
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

Content Warning: The following article includes mention of student death. 

University Counseling services are available at 609-258-3141, and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 988 or +1 (800) 273-TALK (8255). A Crisis Text Line is also available in the United States; text HOME to 741741. Students can contact residential college staff and the Office of Religious Life for other support and resources.


First-year James Li ’27 died in the afternoon of Feb. 16 after being struck by the Princeton Dinky shuttle at the Faculty Road crossing. 

Vice President for Campus Life W. Rochelle Calhoun wrote in a campus message that “few details are known and the incident is under investigation.” 

At approximately 2:15 p.m., a Princeton Junction-bound train “struck and fatally injured” Li, according to Kyalo Mulumba, a senior public information officer for NJ Transit, in an email to The Daily Princetonian. 

This is the eighth student death in the past three years. Li was a member of Yeh College and attended Princeton High School.

According to the statement from Mulumba, the train departed from the University at 2:14 p.m. and was scheduled to arrive at Princeton Junction at 2:19 p.m. There were no reported injuries to the “approximately 30 customers or crew on board,” Mulumba added. Ethan Caldwell ’27 was aboard the Dinky when the incident occurred.

“A New Jersey Transit police officer or firefighter came on board and checked to ask if everyone was okay, if anyone had been hurt,” Caldwell told The Daily Princetonian. “He just reiterated that there had been an emergency and that they were going to try to evacuate us from the train, because it could not move.” Caldwell added that the police did not provide further details on the reason for the evacuation.


Caldwell is a staff News writer for the ‘Prince.’

At 3:59 p.m., an email was sent out to members of the University community via TigerAlert that Faculty Road was closed “between Alexander Street and the Elm Drive Circle,” citing police activity. Staff members who typically exit campus at Faculty Road and Alexander Street were directed to the exit at Washington Road.

The campus message shared that resources and support will be available through ​​Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), the Office of Religious Life, the residential colleges, and the Graduate School. Students wishing to speak with a counselor can call 609-258-3141, CPS Cares Line, which is available 24/7. 

The message also noted that CPS will offer drop-in hours for students seeking support at McCosh Health Center on Saturday, Feb. 17 from noon to 2 p.m, and that faculty and staff may contact Carebridge to speak with a licensed professional by calling 800-437-0911.

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A gathering for “students who wish to reflect and support one another” will be held on Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. in the residence of Yeh College Head Yair Mintzker, located on the first floor of Mannion Hall. During the event, deans of the Office of Religious Life, counselors from Counseling and Psychological Services, and residential college staff will be available.  

This article is breaking and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Christopher Bao is an assistant News editor for the ‘Prince.’

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