Remembering Jillian Hegarty: An Eyewitness’ Account

Olivia Norton ’25

Contributing Writer

I never had the pleasure of knowing Jillian Hegarty. To me, she was an unknown girl at The Tap, talking with her friends and enjoying a night out. I remember the atmosphere outside was light and happy. The weather was amazing for March, and groups had formed, talking and laughing.  

At 11:35 my friends and I crossed New Britain Ave without thinking—three female students at Trinity College giggling and discussing our plans for the rest of the weekend. Thirty seconds later a similar group of friends attempted to cross the street, and I became a bystander to tragedy.  

At 11:36 the clock stopped. As I write this less than 24 hours later, I am still stuck on that road with the 911 operator’s voice ringing in my ear. 

What happened on March 31st, 2022, was a murder on the Trinity College campus. The news reports will tell you this happened “next to campus,” as if the few feet separating the road and the sidewalk has any bearing. They will use “hit-and-run” in their headlines, but whoever was driving that car perpetrated an act of violence greater than any of us should ever have to see. This college must keep that in mind during the coming weeks and treat the event with the gravity it deserves. 

I believe this community has the ability to recover from what happened. I saw a greater outpouring of love from my fellow students than I ever thought was possible. People whom I had never met before held me. Students rushed to help the victims with no thought for their own safety or comfort.  

As I sobbed walking back to my dorm, I was not alone as people exited their rooms to offer support in any way they could. The news of what happened spread that night largely in part due to the students who went out of their way to ensure the safety of friends and strangers alike. 

I need the adults at this college to handle the situation with as much care as their students have. The fact that I had to stress about missing class the next day is utterly horrific. Students attended class less than eight hours after Jillian’s passing because Trinity College did not prioritize them. Random people have shown more empathy than an institution that is profiting off of me. I need this school to do better in the coming weeks—we are people before we are students. 

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  1. 1
    Joseph Troiano

    Joseph Troiano: The difference between on campus and off is an interesting one . For example, Vernon Street is a public road in the city of Hartford. The parking across from the school’s property on Summit Street? That’s Hartford City Park land. The sidewalks where fraternities make their pledges stand in the cold are Hartford City Sidewalks. I have paid property taxes in Hartford for 37 years. I was a student at Trinity for only 4. Trinity has placed a sign at the top of Vernon Street giving it another name!!! For a tax exempt institution I think that represents incredible hubris.
    I don’t know the facts that surrounded the incident that took this student’s life, and I do grieve her loss. But calling a murder on campus? Seems like a stretch to me.

  2. 2
    Hartford resident

    What is the purpose of this writer going out of their way to make the point that they believe this happened “on campus” and not “off campus”?

    Are Trinity students entitled to more protection from being a pedestrian victim than their Hartford neighbors? Last I checked their tuition dollars — or Trinity’s massive endowment — does not help Hartford pay for safe pedestrian infrastructure or anything else because the institution doesn’t pay taxes.

    Want that road to be on campus? Sure, Hartford will gladly allow Trinity to pay for something…. finally.

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