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Plamondon is remembered as anniversary of his death passes

By Liz Crowley
On March 27, 2012

  • On Mar. 25, 2011, students painted a rock on campus to honor David Plamondon after his death. Jess Condon

March 22 marked the one-year anniversary of UConn student David Plamondon's death after a UConn shuttle bus hit him near the corner of North Hillside Road and Alumni Drive. Plamondon was a junior physiology and neurobiology student preparing for medical school and was a member of the A capella group A Minor.

"It's been a tumultuous year," said Amanda Cook, a member of the singing group and a close friend of Plamondon. "A Minor has been doing everything we can to honor Dave...[We're] in the healing process."

The music group dedicated its invitational concert on Saturday to Plamondon. Cook said it was particularly special to them because it was the last concert he performed in.

"We often talk about Dave in rehearsal and dedicate songs to him," Cook said.

On the anniversary of his death, Linda Plamondon, Dave's mother, said she, her husband and one of their children left their home in West Minster, Mass. to stay with a relative in Maryland.

"We just couldn't be home," she said.

Linda and Mitchel, Plamondon's brother, said this year has been horrible for them. They said they are trying to cope with Plamondon's death, but struggle with it because of the way he died and the process that followed. Linda said she did not know who the driver was until July, did not receive the autopsy report until August and did not receive the police report until October.

The bus driver, Lukasz Gilewski, 22, of Newington, was sentenced earlier this month to two years probation and six months in prison, which has been suspended, according to The Hartford Courant. Gilewski pleaded negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and said he waved to a passing bus as he went around the corner when he hit Plamondon.

The Department of Transportation Services installed external speakers on the campuses' buses last week, which announce when a bus is going to turn, stop or pull away. Janet Freniere, head of Transportation Services, said they seem to be successful so far, although they had to tweak the volume.

"I would be lying if I said it has nothing to do with the accident," Freniere said. "We all very much have David and his family in our thoughts and prayers, no matter if it's the one year or not."

Freniere started a pedestrian safety committee last semester to address some of the dangers pedestrians face at UConn. She said scooters, bikes, skateboards, long boards and motor vehicles all present problems for pedestrians.

"UConn is becoming more and more pedestrian friendly," she said.

Mitchel Plamondon said he thinks it's good that UConn is taking action, but that this system will not fix everything.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous," he said about the speakers. "It sounds like the blame is being placed on the pedestrian."

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