Grief counseling is being offered at Penn State University after a 19-year-old student from Branford was killed in a one-car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Sunday afternoon.
Vitalya "Tally" Sepot was one of seven students in the car returning from a trip to solicit donations for a student-run philanthropy at the university when the accident occured. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Six other students in the car were rushed to an area hospital. Their conditions have not been released.
Sepot, who was a graphic design major, was part of a group of students from the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity who were returning from their first weekend of “canning” for donations for THON, according to Penn State officials.
THON, is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Several weekends a year are designated as “canning” weekends, where students solicit donations across Pennsylvania.
"The Penn State community and all who know the good work done through student involvement in THON are deeply saddened by this tragedy," said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs. "Our hopes are with the students injured, whose release from the hospital we are eager to see, but our hearts are with Tally's family and friends, whose terrible loss we mourn."
Before she was a Penn State Nittany Lion, Sepot graduated from Branford High School in 2014.
"Sometimes people are taken from us who are just angels and stars, and that's what Tally was," Branford High School Girls Tennis Coach Bill Previdi said.
Previdi coached Sepot for three seasons and she was the captain during her senior year.
"She was always very selfless and willing to do whatever we needed to be successful as a team,” Previdi said. “Everyone's devastated because everybody loved her who knew her. She was so charitable. She was always giving. She always cared about other people."
Sepot’s youth dance instructor Lori Delieto from All That Jazz studio in Branford described her former student as “fun and vibrant.”
Pennsylvania State Police have not released any information on the cause of the crash, but said it is under investigation.