Student summoned for allegedly fleeing scene of accident

The Waterville Police Department issued a court summons last month to John Woodside ’17 after he allegedly fled the scene of a single-car accident on Rice Rips Road. Darpan Roychowdhury ’17 was a passenger in the car, but faces no charges. Neither student was seriously injured in the accident.

Shortly after midnight on Nov. 15, Woodside was driving north on Washington Street and lost control of the vehicle due to excessive speed while making a left turn onto Rice Rips Road. As Woodside rounded the curve, the Ford SUV went into a “critical skid,” according to police reports, crashing through the guardrail on the left side of the road and into the woods. The vehicle came to a stop upon hitting a tree.

Woodside and Roychowdhury were able to exit the vehicle after the accident, and walked away from the scene of the crash without notifying the police department. The two were identified the following morning, according to police reports, and Woodside was charged with “failure to report [the] accident by [the] quickest means.” If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Woodside and Roychowdhury declined to comment on the incident.

The accident occurred off campus, but within earshot, shortly before the I-95 overpass as the vehicle was headed away from the College. “Someone called the [security] office [because they] heard the crash,” Director of Security Peter Chenevert said. Associate Director of Security Jeff Coombs responded and located the scene of the accident, calling the police after finding the totaled vehicle.

Fire and rescue squads inspected the crash and searched the vicinity for over an hour before determining that the vehicle occupants had fled the scene. They also reported blood on the vehicle, which Waterville Police Sergeant Brian Gardiner believes to be from either Woodside or Roychowdury cutting a hand on glass after the accident.
In most cases, when students face charges from the Waterville police for off-campus incidents, both Security and the Office of the Dean of Students receive notification. “If police deal with our students off campus, they notify me…just to give me a heads up,” Chenevert said. Security will then automatically notify the Dean’s office.
Even if security remains entirely uninvolved in an off-campus incident, all police charges appear in the Morning Sentinel. “It comes back to the school one way or another,” Chenevert said.

Page 20 of the Colby Student Handbook reads that the College “does not police students’ personal lives” on or off campus. “When we become aware” of an off-campus infraction, “we do the same thing we would do on campus,” Dean of Students Paul Johnston said. The course of action depends entirely on the incident, and Johnston would first consider if the student has violated College expectations and how the incident relates to the student’s role as a responsible member of the campus community.

In some cases, he will call the student in for a meeting, and “based on that conversation, we would decide if we were going to impose [sanctions] or hold the student accountable,” Johnston said.

For legal charges, alcohol-related or otherwise, if a student is “charged with something that would be a violation of the code of conduct that we expect from our students, we’d absolutely take action,” Johnston said.

Johnston was unable to release information on how the College plans to respond to this incident.

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