Student victim’s name released

By Jamie Loo

The Champaign County Coroner’s office released the name of the 21-year-old biochemistry graduate student who was killed when a bus struck her Wednesday night.

Carolyn B. Jeffers was struck and killed by a Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) bus at the intersection of Goodwin Avenue and Gregory Drive.

Krystal Fitzpatrick, assistant director of the division of public safety, said the University police department responded to a call at 6:45 p.m. that a woman had been struck by an MTD bus. When police arrived at the scene, Jeffers was unconscious and seriously injured. Steve Elkins, from the Champaign County Coroner’s office, said Jeffers died from multiple traumatic injuries from the accident. She was pronounced dead at Carle Hospital at 7:05 p.m.

Fitzpatrick said Illinois State Police assisted with the initial accident reconstruction but the ongoing investigation will be handled by the University police department.

Tom Costello, assistant director for MTD, said there hasn’t been a fatal accident involving MTD in 34 years. In an MTD statement, the Board of Trustees and MTD extended their sympathies to the Jeffers family. Costello said the MTD staff takes safety very seriously and they will continue to investigate the cause of the accident.

“There is an aura of sadness over here among our drivers,” he said.

Zachary Palmer, Jeffers’ boyfriend, said she was a kind person who did volunteer work with a domestic violence shelter when she was in college. She did her undergraduate degree at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and started graduate school this fall. Palmer said Jeffers had been extremely busy with her class work, doing lab rotations and other research. Jeffers liked to try different foods and experiences. He said one time they went skydiving in Ohio.

“She used to get books about the widest variety of topics and just read them,” Palmer said.

She would have been 22 on Oct. 30. Jeffers’ family is from Billerica, Mass. She is survived by her parents, sister, her grandmothers, an aunt and uncle. Palmer said funeral arrangements have not yet been made.