UNC Charlotte student Polly Rogers was riding a party bus to Uptown when she fell out of the emergency window and then was struck by two vehicles. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police say.
Rogers recently celebrated her 20th birthday and was a sophomore. She was studying special education and was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.
At Zeta Tau Alpha, the chapter president Alexis Burns described Rogers as an emerging leader and “the friendliest person you would ever meet in your life.”
“She could always be found in the common areas of the house greeting sisters after their day at classes and making sure their day was going great,” Bruns said in a statement.
Over $13,000 was raised on a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses in less than a day. Organizers stopped accepting donations after they almost doubled the goal amount of $7,000.
The death of Rogers has prompted a full investigation and led to the suspension of Kappa Sigma, one UNC Charlotte’s longest-standing fraternities. Authorities are trying to determine if the emergency window inside the bus broke or if someone opened it from the inside.
The Charlotte Party Charter bus was rented by the UNC Charlotte chapter of Kappa Sigma and was taking 55 to 60 people from the off-campus fraternity house to a bar in Uptown when around 10:30 p.m., Rogers fell out of an emergency window on the bus into the middle lane of a street and was struck by two vehicles.
While it is unclear if alcohol was a factor in the incident, alcohol was on the bus, according to police. According to state law, there shouldn’t have been alcohol on the bus since there were underage riders.
After learning of the details and involvement Kappa Sigma had to the incident, fraternity officials suspended their operations at UNC Charlotte.
The chapter declined to comment on the investigation; however, the national Kappa Sigma Executive Director Mitchell Wilson released a statement, saying, “The Brothers of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Polly Rogers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rogers family and to her loved ones. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity has suspended the operations of our Kappa-Omega Chapter at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and we are in the process of conducting an investigation of the event on Tuesday evening. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity will fully cooperate with all investigations of the university and local authorities.”
Kevin Bailey, the vice chancellor for student affairs released a statement to the university community the following the incident saying, “I write you today with a heavy heart. It is with deep sadness that I share we lost a member of our community late last night. Sophomore Polly Rogers was killed in a traffic accident on Tryon Street.As we begin to understand the circumstances surrounding Polly’s sudden passing, we also reflect on her life and her time with us. Polly was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and was studying special education in the Cato College of Education. Her professors describe her as warm and caring, as do others who had the pleasure of knowing her.”
Students are planning a vigil at UNC Charlotte this Sunday at 5 p.m. to remember the life of Rogers.
The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.