Police respond to parking garage accident


Casey Kula | Staff Photographer

A total of four vehicles were damaged in the parking garage on the night of Sept. 17. UNA P.D. were called in by a group of students and were met with the damage. No students were harmed and the driver was referred to Student Conduct.

Ellen McDonald, News Editor

Casey Kula | Staff Photographer

At approximately 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 17,  the University of North Alabama police were notified of an accident in the parking garage on the northside of campus. A total of four cars were damaged. Two cars had minor damage and two cars had heavier damage.

“Officers responded to the sixth level of the parking deck to a report of multiple vehicles being struck by another vehicle,” said UNA Chief of Police, Les Jackson. “ A few individuals said that the vehicle was last seen traveling up the parking deck. Officers were able to locate the vehicle, and the suspected driver.”

An ambulance was then called to check on the driver. As of right now, the incident is not believed to be intentional, Jackson commented.

“The driver was not arrested,” said Jackson. “The student has been referred to Student Conduct, and we are currently reviewing the incident to determine whether charges need to be filed.”

Right now, the student conduct case on the incident is closed; but, there will be an opportunity to file charges for the next year. Jackson added that the UNA Police Department is not currently releasing the name of the driver at this time.

“Minor traffic accidents do occur in the parking lots and parking deck, but it is very rare to have an incident involving this many vehicles,” said Jackson.

It will be the responsibility of the person who was caused the damage to cover the cost, not the University’s.

“The UNA police filed an incident report and I went through my insurance and they contacted his [ the person who hit the car] insurance to pay for the damage,” said freshman, Becca Martin.

The damage on Martin’s car was more cosmetic. She added that some of the other cars had worse damage and one was hit with enough force to lift it onto the curb.

“I was really angry at first because my car had gotten hit for no reason,” said Martin. “I know some people who are nervous about parking.”

While the accident may cause some apprehension about leaving cars in the deck, the UNA Police Department is doing all they can and more to ensure the safety of the students.

“The police department has actually increased patrolling in the past several months by foot, Segway, and other modes of transportation,” said Jackson. “We have added additional security patrolling campus, and of course, the parking deck is included in those patrols.”

Jackson added that the UNA Police Department also has a video surveillance system within the parking garage for extra security and comfort.

“From the perspective of driving in the parking deck and parking lots around campus, don’t speed,” said Jackson. “In the parking deck the speed limit is five miles per hour. Be aware of your surroundings, and look when pulling into parking spaces and backing out.”

He  encourages  students  to  practice  defensive driving, in hopes to avoid potential accidents.

“If you are a pedestrian, always be aware of your surroundings and look both ways when crossing parking lots, roads, or any area where traffic can travel,” said Jackson.

There are a lot of students on campus and with that, comes a lot of drivers on campus. Jackson encourages all students to be safe and to look at one’s surroundings before moving the vehicle.

‘If a student needs an escort at night, I encourage them to utilize our Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, or S.N.A.P. for short,” said Jackson. “They can call 256-765-4357 (HELP) Extension #5 for assistance.”

There are resources on campus for students to use when they are in trouble, distress, or feel uncomfortable.

“I would like to thank the students who had called the incident in, and the students who had assisted with locating the offender’s vehicle,”  said Jackson. “We truly have some great students here at the University, and their assistance was greatly appreciated.”

Jackson encourages anyone who hears about or witnesses an incident to call their department. They are here to help.