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Student in critical condition after pedestrian-vehicle accident on Friday

Hayley Johnson/Daily Collegian

A University of Massachusetts student is in critical condition after a pedestrian-car accident on Friday night, according to the UMass Police Department, as relayed by News and Media Relations spokesperson Ed Blaguszewski.

Silas Watkins, a 20-year-old UMass student, is at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield after being struck by a vehicle while crossing Eastman Lane, near Sylvan Residential Area and North Apartments.

“Watkins was transported from the scene with severe injuries, including head trauma, by Amherst Fire Department. [Charles] Willingham and a passenger in his vehicle were uninjured,” Blaguszewski said in an email.

The car, driving westbound by 18-year-old Charles Willingham, struck Watkins at approximately 5:48 p.m., according to Blaguszewski.

Initially, UMPD responded to the accident, and then the Massachusetts State Police were called to the scene due to the severity of injuries sustained by Watkins.

According to Blaguszewski, UMPD said solar glare from the setting sun was a factor.

Blaguszewski said police had sent out a prior notice warning drivers of solar glare. The flyer noted that, especially in the late afternoon, solar glare is a driving hazard.

The incident is still under investigation and charges are pending.

Daniel Fitzgibbons, spokesperson for News and Media Relations, said “all the details are still murky and [News and Media Relations] are still waiting for a police report to be filed.”

Fitzgibbons also explained that Eastman Lane is a town road that runs through campus, which complicated the jurisdiction of the accident.

Amherst Police Department were not available for comment.

This story will be updated as new information is released.

Rebecca Duke Wiesenberg can be reached at Hayley Johnson can be reached at

One Response to “Student in critical condition after pedestrian-vehicle accident on Friday”
  1. Ed Cutting says:

    This is not the first time this has happened — perhaps a warning to PEDESTRIANS would be in order?

    If you can see the driver’s face lit up by the sunlight, presume he/she/it can’t see you.
    The right-of-way isn’t worth dying for.

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