CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Polly Miranda Rogers, 20, was killed after she fell out of a party bus in northeast Charlotte Tuesday night, landed in the road, and was struck by two vehicles, police said.
The UNC-Charlotte sophomore was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, majoring in special education.
“Her professors described her as warm and caring, as do others who had the pleasure of knowing her,” Kevin Bailey, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.
Polly's friends tell FOX 46 she was one of the most loving people and she spread her kindness everywhere, and whether students knew her or not, they're completely shocked and saddened by the loss of one of their own.
“It definitely questions the safety of these party buses,” UNC-Charlotte student De'Shaun Taylor said.
The incident happened around 10:25 p.m. Tuesday, May 1 in the 4500 block of North Tryon St.
It was supposed to be a celebratory evening of fun and fulfillment, but it took a tragic turn.
“We were all celebrating the last day of classes and I would've never imagined anything like that to have happened,” another student told FOX 46.
Rogers was on a 1974 Leyland party bus traveling to uptown, when the emergency window opened and she fell out into the street. She was then hit by two cars.
“To think that it was just a normal night, people celebrating the last day of class for a tragic event to happen its crazy mind-blowing,” the student said.
Students were left on edge, saying this hits too close to home because party buses have always served as a popular option.
“They usually take people from the front of campus uptown to different locations uptown,” Taylor said. “It’s definitely chaotic. A lot going on, loud music, just really college students being college students.”
Polly’s sorority issued this statement, saying:
It is with very heavy hearts that Zeta Tau Alpha mourns the loss of Polly Miranda Rogers who died Tuesday. Polly was an emerging leader in her chapter, serving as a New Member assistant, the Signs Chair and on the Recruitment Committee.
“Polly was the friendliest person you would ever meet in your life. She could always be found in the common areas of the house greeting sisters after their day at classes and making sure their day was going great,” Chapter President Alexis Marie Burns, said.
All of ZTA sends its sincere condolences to Polly’s family during this most difficult time. Police are continuing to investigate, trying to figure out exactly what went wrong.
“They're going to turn over every stone, find out exactly what happened here,” CMPD's Rob Trufano said.
Students on campus said they hope this never happens to anyone ever again.
"To one of our students but any students across the country,” Taylor said.
A records check shows that bus hadn’t been inspected in two years. FOX 46 did reach out to the bus company, Charlotte Party Charters, both by phone and through email. The station has yet to hear back.
Police believe alcohol was on the bus, but they don't know at this time by whom it was consumed.
CMPD also found that Rogers and the other occupants on the bus were traveling from an off-campus house on Mallard Creek Church Rd. to uptown Charlotte.
The full statement from Kevin Bailey, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, can be seen below:
Dear Niner Nation,
I write you today with a heavy heart. It is with deep sadness that I share we lost a member of our community late last night. Sophomore Polly Rogers was killed in a traffic accident on Tryon Street.
As we begin to understand the circumstances surrounding Polly’s sudden passing, we also reflect on her life and her time with us. Polly was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and was studying special education in the Cato College of Education. Her professors describe her as warm and caring, as do others who had the pleasure of knowing her.
If students need support during this difficult time, please reach out to the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services at 704‑687‑0311 (after hours, press 0 to be connected with a counselor) or Student Assistance and Support Services at 704-687-0289.
Faculty and staff who need assistance should contact ComPsych (employee assistance program, available 24 hours a day) at 877-603-8259.
Please join me in holding Polly’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers now and in the days ahead.