UMass student Daniel Haley dies early Saturday in auto accident

By Steffi Porter

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A University of Massachusetts senior passed away early Saturday morning after his motorcycle was struck by a car in Hadley, according to an article published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Daniel J. Haley, 24, was driving back from his home in Pittsfield Saturday on Route 116, when a car, “allegedly traveling in the wrong direction in the northbound lane” hit him, as reported to the Gazette by the Hadley Police.

The 24-year-old chemical engineering major was set to graduate in less than a month, according to the Gazette.

UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski told the Gazette in an email that Haley was set to graduate in May.

“The UMass community is deeply saddened by his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” Blaguszewski told the Gazette.

The driver of the car, Brittini M. Benton, 24 of Sunderland was transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield by Helicopter following the accident. She was released Sunday night, and no charges were filed as of Monday night, as reported to the Gazette by the Hadley Police.

According to Steven E. Gagne in the Gazette article, the accident is still being investigated.

A third person was also injured in the accident, motorist Jon Weeks, 57, of Leyden, was hospitalized after the accident as well, according to the Gazette.

The Gazette article also reported that Benton was arrested in Hadley in 2008 for “operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.”  The article continued to state that Benton was found guilty on the charge, and lost her driver’s license for 210 days. She was also fined $550 and was required to complete a drug and alcohol education program, continued the Gazette report.

While at UMass, Haley was a resident of 142 Summer St. in Amherst, with roommate Adam Bartman, according to the Gazette. Haley was interested in Wastewater treatment processes and had discussed the possibility of traveling to Brazil after graduation, Bartman told the Gazette.

Bartman told the Gazette that Haley spent the summer of 2010 as a member of the Coconino Rural Environmental Corps in Arizona, a corps that works on conservation projects.

Haley also worked at the Cushman Market and Café in North Amherst, according to the Gazette, which also said that he has been serving as a technical assistant at the UMass Fine Arts Center for close to three years, as shown by his LinkedIn profile.

Haley graduated from Berkshire Community college in 2009 with an associate’s degree in chemical engineering.

Steffi Porter, Collegian Staff