Trial for UMass student charged with motor vehicle homicide to begin in June

Mar 26, 2024

The 22-year-old driver of the vehicle that struck and killed Frank Petillo, Jr. on the UMass Dartmouth campus in April 2023 is set to appear in court for the start of trial on Friday, June 21. 

The driver, Danasia Sampson, from Mattapan, was officially charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation in October 2023, after the Bristol County District Attorney’s office cited the student in September.

According to police records obtained by Dartmouth Week, Sampson was driving 56 miles per hour at the time of the accident. The speed limit on Ring Road is 25 miles per hour. 

Petillo was struck by the vehicle on campus on April 6. He was found lying on Ring Road with significant injuries and was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

According to police records, Sampson told the interviewing officer that she had thought she lost her debit card, and was traveling back to her dorm room to look for it. When she saw Petillo and the friend he was walking with, she swerved out of the way, but Petillo ran in the same direction, according to the record.