Driver who struck student in crosswalk cited

Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 08, 2017

AMHERST — Three citations are being issued to the driver of a vehicle that struck a University of Massachusetts student in a crosswalk on Eastman Lane Friday evening, according to university officials.

Charles Willingham, 18, of Newburyport, will have Registry of Motor Vehicles citations charging him with speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, said UMass spokeswoman Mary Dettloff.

Meantime, the injured student’s condition has been upgraded. Silas M. Watkins, 20, of Wellfleet, remains at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where he is listed in fair condition Tuesday.

The crash occurred at 5:48 p.m. Friday when Watkins, crossing Eastman Lane in a designated crosswalk near Sylvan Drive, was struck by Willingham’s westbound vehicle.

Watkins suffered “severe injuries, including head trauma,” according to a statement issued by UMass earlier, and was transported to Baystate by Amherst Fire Department ambulance.

Dettloff said UMass Police report that solar glare may have been a factor in the accident. The department is warning both drivers and pedestrians on campus that this will remain a safety concern between 4 and 6 p.m. for several more days.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.