Penn Graduate Student Dies After Being Struck, Thrown From Bridge

Man plunges 38 feet from elevated roadway following a serious car crash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Zachary Woods was identified as the Penn student who was killed after plunging 38 feet from an overpass. (Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014)

    A University of Pennsylvania graduate student struck by a car while walking down the street before being thrown from a 38-foot high University City bridge died overnight. The 27-year-old man had only arrived at the school a few days prior.

    Penn Student Dies After Freak Crash

    [PHI] Penn Student Dies After Freak Crash
    The 27-year-old who fell nearly 40 feet during a car crash died Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014)

    Zachary Woods, of Monroe, N.Y., suffered extremely serious injuries in the crash that took place before 10 a.m. along an elevated portion of Walnut Street at 30th. He was walking along the southern sidewalk when a blue 2005 Mercury Montego ran a red light at high speed and broadsided a red 2011 Toyota Camry, police said. The impact had such force that it sent the Mercury sedan careening in the man's direction.

    Trying to avoid being hit, officials said Woods jumped onto a traffic light pole, but the pole was directly in the path of the car. The sedan hit the pole and the man and sent them flying off the bridge to the ground 38 feet below, police said.

    Freak Crash Hurts Pedestrian

    [PHI] Freak Crash Hurts Pedestrian
    A Penn student is fighting for his life following a freak accident on campus which propelled him to fall 38 feet. (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    The car hit the cement wall behind the man and pole so hard indentations of the wheels were left behind, police said.

    Pedestrian Hurt in Car Crash

    [PHI] Pedestrian Hurt in Car Crash
    A pedestrian fell off an overpass while trying to avoid a car accident on Walnut Street in University City. (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    Woods was rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in extremely critical condition. Police say he died late Tuesday night.

    On Wednesday, flowers marked a small memorial at the crash site honoring Woods' memory.

    Fellow students tell NBC10.com that the victim recently joined Penn's prestigious Lauder Institute at the Wharton Business School to study international business.

    "So everyone is very concerned. I know he's a first year and he just arrived probably this week and it's the second day of class," said Paul Baek, a student at Penn. He said the school was set to host a welcome party for students on Tuesday night.

    Woods' Facebook page says he moved to Philadelphia on May 4 and previously lived in China. A short biography posted on the website for his former employer, the New York City Regional Center, said he helped with water treatment in rural Chinese villages.

    In a statement posted to the school's Twitter account, Wharton School officials said they "are deeply saddened by the tragic loss" and that they "express condolences to his family and friends."

    The crash remains under investigation by Philadelphia Police. The 43-year-old driver of the Mercury sedan, which police say ran the light, was also critically hurt. He remains in critical condition. Police have yet to say whether they plan to file charges in the crash.

    The driver of the Toyota, a 69-year-old man, suffered minor injuries.


    PHOTO: View from SkyForce10 shows the scene of the crash and where the man landed on street below.