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Parents, Classmates Mourn Wharton Student Who Died After Freak Accident In University City

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Police say a pedestrian sent plunging from an elevated roadway in University City after a car crash has died.

A police spokeswoman says the 27-year-old man, identified as Zachary Woods from Monroe, NJ, was critically injured after the 38-foot fall and died just after 10 p.m. Tuesday. (See Related Story)

He and a driver were taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania after the accident shortly before 10 a.m. near 30th Street Station.

Police said a westbound car collided with a southbound vehicle, causing it to spin out of control and hit a utility pole, the pedestrian and a retaining wall. The impact sent the man and the pole over the side to the ground below.

A heart-wrenching note left by Zachary’s parents was left at the spot their son was critically injured:”To our dearest Zachary, You are in our hearts forever and ever. We love you so very much.”

Woods was just set to start a two year program at UPenn’s Wharton School of Business.

A Penn student said, “Really affecting us, could have happened to any of us.”

He came to Philadelphia just weeks ago, a city that sees accidents like this all too often.

“It’s on average every five hours in Philadelphia someone is hit by a car,” said Andrew Stover, of the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities.

So the city applied for and received over half a million dollars to try and improve pedestrian safety.  That means a new safety ad campaign, more money for police enforcement on busy streets, and continuing education in the schools.

The University Of Pennsylvania released the following statement regarding Woods:

“The entire Penn community is deeply saddened by Zachary’s tragic death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time.”

Despite doing nothing wrong, Zachary Woods was simply unlucky.

Police are testing the Mercury driver’s blood to see if he was impaired, but those results won’t be back for a while. In the meantime, his classmates mourned a young man with a bright future.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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