Stock photo courtesy of US Air Forces Central Command. This is a stock photo which was not taken at the scene of the accident.
by Robert Beeland
UPDATE—10:27 a.m. CDT: On Friday night, September 29, an accident involving 10 University students and one visitor driving on SR-156 (South Pittsburg Mountain Road/Jumpoff Road) resulted in several hospitalizations. Four of the injured students were airlifted to local hospitals, per a report by the Marion County Messenger. As of Saturday morning, September 30, all of the involved persons were reported as either having been released or as being in stable condition.
The accident involved one SUV carrying the 10 students and one student’s visiting sibling, all of whom were female. The South Pittsburg Mountain Volunteer Fire Department (SPMVFD) was dispatched to prepare a helicopter landing zone for the students requiring airlift treatment. The Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department and the Sewanee Police Department also responded.
According to a post from the SPMVFD Facebook page, “SPMVFD was paged out to set up a Landing Zone for a very serious accident involving one SUV with 11 college students in it. 4 students were air lifted to local hospitals with serious injuries. Thankfully, there were NO fatalities, but we would ask for thoughts and prayers to all involved, the victims, the First Responders, and all of the families.”
On Saturday morning, September 30, Senior Associate Dean of Student Life Becky Spurlock sent an email to the student body clarifying details regarding the accident. In that email, Spurlock explained that “[a]ll 11 women were transported to one of three hospitals in the region. Since that time, six of the students have been released. The five remaining students in the hospital were last reported as in stable condition.”
A second email from Spurlock, sent Saturday afternoon, disclosed the University’s decision to suspend the Theta Pi sorority’s operation until an investigation regarding the accident had been completed. Additionally, Spurlock’s email revealed that “[t]he Interfraternity Council and Intersorority Council have closed Greek houses to first-year students effective immediately and through Fall Break. First-year students should not be present at Greek houses or Greek events of any kind. Any violations will be responded to with immediate suspension of the Greek chapter.”
The Purple will continue to update this story as more information is released.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported that all 11 involved in the accident were University students. The article’s former title, “11 University students hospitalized after SR-156 accident,” has been changed to reflect this.