UMass student Meghan Beebe struck, killed by car in Connecticut

Last modified: Wednesday, January 01, 2014
AMHERST — A senior sociology major at the University of Massachusetts who died from injuries she suffered early Saturday morning in Connecticut is being recalled as dedicated and engaged and always stepping forward to help others.

Meghan Beebe, 21, of Middlebury, Conn., who had cleared her graduation requirements this fall, was struck by a vehicle in a parking lot in Greenwich, Conn., and pronounced dead at a hospital several hours later.

“This is truly awful and I’d like her to be remembered as someone who was central to building community in our department,” said Christin Glodek, a sociology department lecturer and the department’s chief undergraduate adviser.

“It’s a terrible loss for the sociology department and for everyone who knew her,” Glodek said. “She was a very engaged and passionate woman who will be sorely missed.”

Beebe was one of the founders and a vice president of the Sociology Club, a group that Glodek said aims to build a social and intellectual community focused on research and generating excitement for causes such as gender discrimination and issues of inequality.

“Meg was the kind of person who always wanted to get more involved,” Glodek said.

Sociology department administrator Wendy Wilde said Beebe brought a smile, energy and genuine compassion to helping others and that the sociology community of students, alumni, faculty and staff are devastated by her untimely death.

“Her presence in the classroom, Sociology Club activities and charitable events clearly represent who she was as a bright, influential young woman,” Wilde said.

Associate professor Jennifer Lundquist said in an email she was so impressed with Beebe’s abilities as a student, from the time she entered the department during her sophomore year, that she asked her and a few other undergraduates to assist in processing and analyzing research data.

“I had been planning on acknowledging her, along with the other students, in the forthcoming research article to be published, and am heartbroken to say that I will now be dedicating the article in her memory instead,” Lundquist said.

UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski expressed condolences. “The university community is deeply saddened by her passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends,” Blaguszewski said.

Beebe took part in the 10th annual Hot Chocolate Run earlier this month in Northampton, raising $200 on her own and helping her team to bring in $3,367 for Safe Passage, an agency that provides support to survivors of family violence in Hampshire County.

Beebe also organized the sociology team in a Relay for Life event in the spring, collecting more than $2,000 for the American Cancer Society. Beebe regularly participated in Relay for Life events following her mother’s death from cancer in 2007.

According to reports on the Greenwich Patch website, Beebe was with a friend around 2 a.m. when she was hit by a vehicle and then dragged beneath it for four blocks. She was taken to Stamford Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Vyacheslav Cherepov of Ridgefield, Conn., was arrested late Sunday night for fleeing the scene of the crash.

An online obituary indicated that Beebe volunteered for the sexual assault crisis hotline through the Center for Women and Community at UMass and recently completed an internship at the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction in Northampton. Glodek said Beebe acted as a treatment intern, working with both inmates and counselors. This type of social work may have been something Beebe would have pursued, she said.

Lundquist said Beebe was also considering getting a doctorate in sociology.

“Whatever she would have decided to pursue for her career, Meg would have done it well and impacted many lives in a positive way,” Lundquist said.

Glodek said she expects discussions among members of the sociology department and the Center for Women and Community will lead to an appropriate way to honor Beebe.

Blaguszewski said even though students don’t return to the Amherst campus until mid January, counseling services will be made available immediately. The dean of students office and the Center for Psychological Health will assist students and others in the university community following Beebe’s death, he said. There will also be counseling work done in residence halls for students when they come back.