Penn State identified the student who died in a crash Sunday as Vitalya “Tally” Sepot, a 19-year-old sophomore from Branford, Conn.
Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the one-vehicle crash that claimed the life of Sepot and injured six other students on the Turnpike near the King of Prussia exit. The crash occurred at 1:49 p.m, according to university spokeswoman Lisa Powers.
“We are so deeply saddened to learn of this tragic accident and we are mobilizing our student affairs response team and have begun to arrange counseling services for any student who may need those services,” Powers said in an email.
Students from the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, according to Powers, were returning from a canning weekend — soliciting donations from communities across the region for the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon — when the crash occurred.
Thon is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer.
Sepot was a passenger in the car and was pronounced dead at the scene. She was majoring in graphic design.
“The Penn State community and all who know the good work done through student involvement in Thon are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” Penn State Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said in a release. “Our hopes are with the students injured, whose release from the hospital we are eager to see, but our hearts are with Tally’s family and friends, whose terrible loss we mourn.”
The other students — identified as Victoria Barrett, 18, of Gibsonia, Sarah Bixby, 18, of Flemington, N.J., Claire Fountas, 19, from Barrington, Ill., Matthew Hrynkow, 20, of Annandale, Va., Brooke Kalodner, 18, of Voorhees, N.J., and Max Titlebaum, 20, of Merion Station — were taken to Paoli Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
“We are terribly saddened by this accident and our hearts are with the friends and family of Tally as well as other students who were involved in the accident,” said Katie Mailey, Thon 2016 executive director, in press release. “The loss of one of our volunteers and the injury of others is a tragedy and we know this will be felt throughout our community. No words can express our sorrow when learning of this accident and of Tally’s passing. We will do all that we can to honor her memory and dedication to Thon. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of individuals directly involved. This is a difficult time for many.”
Sepot is the second student volunteer for Thon to die in a car crash during a canning weekend.
Courtney O’Bryan, of Huntington, N.Y., died in December 2011 as a result from injuries from a car crash, which occurred when the vehicle she was in hit black ice and flipped over near Bradford. O’Bryan, who was a freshman, and five other students were on their way to Buffalo for a canning weekend.
Counseling for students is available at Penn State’s Counseling and Psychological Services. For more information, call 863-0395.