Pally Family suing fire fighter and state of Connecticut

Jeffny Pally, 19, was a sophomore from West Hartford. She studied allied health and made her presence known all over campus through involvement in groups far and wide, from her sorority to Community Outreach. (Courtesy/Facebook)

Jeffny Pally’s parents are suing the driver of the fire vehicle that killed their daughter as well as the state of Connecticut.

Abraham and Shiny Chemmarappally allege that Dana E. Barrow Jr. operated the vehicle “in a reckless, willful and wanton manner, and in a manner that showed reckless and malicious disregard for the safety of other persons," in the suit they filed on Feb. 2.

“The Chemmarappally family deeply mourns the death of their daughter and sister, Jeffny Pally,” Michael J. Walsh, the Chemmarappally’s attorney said to the Hartford Courant, “There remain many unanswered questions regarding her death."

Their basis for the suit is that Barrow did not stop the vehicle after he felt he had run over something.  

Barrow told police when he felt the bump he assumed he had run over a piece of fire equipment as he could not see the ground.

“The accident reconstruction investigation determined the firefighter could not see Ms. Pally in the position she was in," Tolland State Attorney Matthew Gedansky told the Hartford Courant. "We measured the line of sight, we recreated the incident and there's no possible way he could have seen her."

Stephanie Reitz, UConn’s spokeswoman said that the University cannot comment.

“As a matter of policy, UConn doesn’t comment on pending litigation,” Reitz said.

Barrow was also unavailable for comment.

Pally’s parents have also requested a judge prohibit the release of the surveillance video of their daughter’s fatal accident.

Several news sources including the Hartford Courant, ABC News and NBC Connecticut requested copies of the video under public record laws. This request is still pending.

“Any disclosure of this video would be highly offensive, distressing and cause severe emotional anguish to the plaintiffs and close family members,” Walsh wrote in the request.

Walsh wrote the plaintiffs feel the release of the video may impact trial proceedings.

“The plaintiffs further submit that such disclosure may also impair the abilities of the parties to empanel a fair and impartial jury at the time of the trial,” Walsh said.  

Six UConn students were arrested last week for providing alcohol to Pally on the night of her death. Pally had a blood alcohol content of .25 at the time of her death.


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.