The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Hit-and-run car accident occurs on 21st Ave. near Peabody Library

After a truck hit a telephone pole on the night of Oct. 23, the man driving the truck fled the scene toward Commons.
Jorie Fawcett
A photo of the vehicle hit on 21st Ave, as photographed on Oct. 23, 2023. (Hustler Staff/Jorie Fawcett)

UPDATE: This piece was updated on Oct. 25, 2023, at 10:28 a.m. CDT to include a statement from VUPD. 

A truck crashed into a telephone pole on 21st Ave., adjacent to the parking lot behind Peabody Library, on the evening of Oct. 23. Student witnesses told The Hustler that the man driving the vehicle — who was said to be disoriented — fled the scene toward Commons. 

Multiple items fell out of the truck’s trunk after it hit the telephone pole, including bagged groceries, a chainsaw and an open container of gasoline, which leaked onto the street. The driver then exited his vehicle and attempted to reload the items into the back of his truck before running toward Commons. People at the scene arrived to help clear the items off the street. 

First-year Graydon McCormick, a West House resident, told The Hustler he heard the sound of the collision from his dorm lobby. McCormick said he then walked to the scene of the accident and approached the driver after he exited his vehicle. He described the man as bald, tall, slender, heavily tattooed and clad in a gray shirt.

“[The man] had gotten out [of his vehicle] and was on the sidewalk. I asked him if he was alright, he said yes. He very clearly was not, he was disoriented,” McCormick said. “He was bleeding from around the back of his head and neck.” 

A Visions group was meeting on West Lawn at the time of the crash and approached the accident after hearing it. VUceptor Alex Stientjes, a junior, said he and his Visions group approached the driver while calling VUPD, after which he ran toward Commons. Stientjes was instructed by VUPD not to follow the driver. He said the driver was slurring his speech and smelled like alcohol. Stientjes corroborated McCormick’s physical description of the man. 

“I was trying to stay by [the man], but he was on the ground and started walking away, and I’m telling him ‘Sir, I think you should stay here, let’s wait for the ambulance, let’s just make sure you’re okay,’ and he is kind of mumbling the whole time. He bursts off, basically sprints off toward Peabody Lawn and the Commons Center, and I’m on the phone with dispatch at this point,” Stientjes said. 

A CSO officer was present before police officers and the Metro Nashville Fire Department later arrived at the scene. Officers began directing traffic as witnesses gathered on both sides of the street. As of publication, no AlertVU message has been sent to students, though news of the incident reached students living on Commons through unofficial channels, such as house GroupMe chats. 

VUPD told The Hustler that the driver was subsequently located and did not pose an “imminent” threat to the Vanderbilt community. Imminent threats include armed assailants, extreme weather, significant fires or chemical leaks and similar occurrences.

“The driver in Monday’s single-vehicle crash was located, identified and cited for leaving the scene of the accident. As there was no evidence that the driver in the incident posed an imminent threat to the community, it was determined that an AlertVU was not necessary,” VUPD said in an Oct. 25 email.

Jorie Fawcett and Kate Connell contributed reporting to this piece.

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About the Contributors
Arman Amin
Arman Amin, Staff Writer
Arman Amin (‘27) is a student in the College of Arts and Science planning to major in political science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him listening to music, going for a run or spending time with friends. You can reach him at [email protected].
Jorie Fawcett
Jorie Fawcett, Senior Advisor
Jorie Fawcett ('25) is from Tiffin, Ohio, and studies secondary education and sociology in Peabody College. She previously served as Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and Life Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her teaching, reading or pretending to study at Local Java or Suzie's. You can reach her at [email protected].
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