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UMass student in critical condition after being struck by vehicle

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For the Gazette
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student was in critical condition Saturday after being struck by a vehicle on campus Friday. The student, Silas Watkins, 20, of Wellfleet, has suffered “severe injuries, including head trauma,” according to a UMass statement.

According to the statement, at approximately 5:48 p.m. on Oct. 20, Watkins was crossing Eastman Lane near the Sylvan residential area when he was hit by a westbound vehicle. The driver, Charles Willingham, 18, of Newburyport, and his passenger were uninjured in the accident, the statement said.

The Amherst Fire Department transported Watkins to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. A police investigation of the scene determined that solar glare from the setting sun was a factor in the accident.

“We caution people it’s a very difficult time of year for drivers,” UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski told the Gazette.

According to Blaguszewski, the university and police sent out messages advising both drivers and pedestrians to use caution on the roads around sunset before the incident occurred. UMass Police again emphasize and encourage extra caution between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to the UMass statement.

UMass Police called the Massachusetts State Police to the scene due to the severity of Watkins’ injuries. The state police are conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident, and “charges are pending,” the UMass statement said.