STORRS, Conn. (WTNH) — Across the University of Connecticut’s campus Tuesday, the community mourned the loss of Jeffny Pally. She was the 19-year-old UConn student who was struck and killed by a campus fire department vehicle.
Painted by the hands of friends, a stone memorial stands on UConn’s campus in honor of Pally. The bottom of the large flat stone is lined with flowers and a pair of wings spans the rock along with Jeffny’s name. The back of the stone reads, ‘Heaven Gained an Angel.’
“I know one of my friends is close to her and she’s really dealing with it right now,” said Arnell Lee. “We are all trying to be really supportive.”
Preps were underway for a vigil Tuesday on campus to remember a young woman on the go. Pally’s mother, Shiny Chemmarappally, says Jeffny loved her family and friends, her church, and her work with the special Olympics.
“I used to tell her, “‘Jeffny you have to take a break,” said Shiny Chemmarappally. “‘She said, ‘Mamma, I have no time. I have to do it all.'”
There are questions about what happened the night Jeffny died. Her mother says she and her husband talked to Jeffny Saturday night. Then Pally snapchatted with a cousin at 12:30. By 1:15 in the morning state police say she was struck and killed by a campus fire department SUV. The accident report says Pally was sitting against a back bay door of the public safety complex when there was a call for service. As the door went up, authorities say Pally fell back and was run over by a Tahoe leaving on a call. She wasn’t found until the Tahoe returned. Friends and family question what happened.
“The truth may be ugly,” said Chemmarappally. “I don’t care. But I just want to know the truth.”
For today, family and friends are focused on saying goodbye. They remembered a young life who touched so many; a high school athlete, a church volunteer. The crowd so thick with mourners one student passed out. It was a night of looking for answers as much as it was about morning. Anjali Gandhi found out about her friends death through social media.
“Shock honestly and then when I read the article saying how it happened I just couldn’t believe it,” said Gandhi.
Amongst the thousand plus people who turned out for the vigil, the Pally family was sitting right up front talking about their daughter Jeffny.
A wake for Jeffny will be held at the Church of Timothy at 1116 N. Main Street in West Hartford from 6-9 on Wednesday. The funeral will also be held at the Church of St. Timothy on Thursday at 10 a.m.