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Three recovering after Tuesday's traffic accident

(01/30/03 10:00am)

Two Penn students and a nurse unaffiliated with the University are recovering after a car accident that occurred Tuesday night. According to Deputy Chief of Investigations Bill Danks, the accident occurred around 10:05 p.m., just north of the intersection of 38th and Walnut streets. Danks said that the two students had exited a cab on 38th Street and were attempting to cross the road. An ambulance returning from a run to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was heading northbound on 38th Street simultaneously. The ambulance struck the two students, injuring them both. A nurse riding in the back of the ambulance was injured as well. One student was taken to HUP and released yesterday morning. The other student is still recovering at Hahnemann Hospital. The third victim was treated at Presbyterian Hospital. According to Danks, the ambulance had proceeded through a green light at Walnut Street and had the right of way. Police have yet to determine whether the ambulance was speeding prior to the incident. Police speculated that slippery road conditions may have played a role in the crash.

Three hurt in traffic accident last night

(01/29/03 10:00am)

Three people were injured in a traffic-related accident that occurred last night just north of the intersection of 38th and Walnut streets, according to University Police. According to Lieutenant John Wylie, it appeared that a cab pulled over on 38th Street, where it let out several passengers. The passengers then allegedly attempted to run across the middle of the street. Wylie said that the accident involved an ambulance that was moving northbound on 38th Street, but could not provide any other details. Two of the pedestrians crossing the street were injured. One of the people in the ambulance was injured as well. The victims were taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Hospital and Hahnemann Hospital for treatment. Police froze traffic moving west on Walnut Street and north on 38th Street in order to investigate the incident. The identities of the victims and any possible affiliations with the University have not been released.

Police arrest suspect in robbery

(01/20/03 10:00am)

Two robberies and one attempted robbery were reported in the area this weekend, leaving many concerned about campus safety. University Police apprehended Maurice Tinley, a 19-year-old black male, in connection with one of the robberies. Investigators are trying to determine if Tinley is tied to the three crimes. According to University Police, the first robbery occurred on Friday around 7:50 p.m. on the 3800 block of Ludlow Street. Two female students reported that a black male approached them from behind and put his hand on the back of one student's head. The two students then handed over their purses, and the perpetrator fled the scene. One of the students reported that the man stole $15, a debit card and a PennCard, while the other reported that he took $25, a cell phone and a Visa card. The students described the perpetrator as a black male in his twenties, around six feet tall, with a thin build and a dark complexion. They also said that he was wearing a black knit hat and a black puffy jacket. A second incident allegedly occurred Friday around 9:14 p.m., just four blocks away on the 3400 block of Ludlow Street. A female complainant unaffiliated with the University reported that a black male attempted to rob her. However, the woman said that she screamed as he approached her, and the perpetrator fled the scene before taking anything from her. The description of the perpetrator involved in the attempted robbery resembles that of the first robbery. The complainant described the perpetrator as a black male, around 20 years old, wearing dark clothing. A third robbery allegedly occurred on Saturday night. A female student reported a robbery around 7 p.m. on the 3700 block of Sansom Street. The perpetrator allegedly stole the student's bag, which did not contain any money, before running away. Following the incident, the student ran to a police car parked next to the 7-Eleven on 38th Street. The police released a description of the perpetrator and ultimately arrested Tinley in connection with the incident. When searched, Tinley was found to possess the cell phone stolen in the first robbery. According to Sergeant John Washington, detectives will continue to investigate the three incidents this week, searching for possible links between Tinley and the three alleged crimes. This weekend, University Chief of Police Tom Rambo urged all Penn students to exercise caution when walking around campus. Rambo reminded students to avoid walking alone and encouraged them to use the University's escort service by calling (215) 898-RIDE or (215) 898-WALK.

Police launch bike safety initiative

(01/20/03 10:00am)

University Police kicked off a new bike safety campaign Friday with a bang -- or rather, a crash. In an effort to raise awareness about the hazards of reckless riding and driving, police officers enacted near-collisions first between bicyclists and pedestrians and later between bicyclists and motorists. The demonstrations were part of a press conference held at the Penn Bookstore to announce a new educational initiative called "Share the Road." The program seeks to educate community members about bicycle-related traffic laws, primarily by distributing informational pamphlets to motorists and cyclists. From now on, any motorist or cyclist found violating a bicycle-related traffic law will be stopped and handed an informational pamphlet. Later this spring, motorists and cyclists violating the same laws will be stopped and awarded citations. Possible infractions include riding bicycles on sidewalks, crowding or driving in bike lanes and several other related violations. Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said that this initiative is a positive step in ensuring the safety of Penn students. She added that she hoped the educational initiative would allow cyclists and pedestrians to feel safer on the roads and sidewalks. "We've done so much in University City to decrease crime that we want bicyclists and pedestrians to feel safe on the streets," Rush said. University Police Chief Tom Rambo said that although most motorists and cyclists obey the traffic laws, enough of them violate the rules to merit the new program. He added that education is crucial to promoting safety throughout the region. According to many speakers at Friday's press conference, University City is an especially important district for promoting bicycle safety. Bicycle Safety Coalition of Greater Philadelphia President Parker Snowe said that there are more bike trips in University City than in any other area in Philadelphia. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission reported a total of 173 crashes between cars and bicycles in University City last year. Yet despite these statistics, Andrew Warren, the district administrator for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, encouraged residents to use bicycles whenever possible. He reminded those attending the conference that cycling promotes good health while decreasing pollution. "In such a congested area, bicycles make abundant good sense," Warren said.

Man attempts to mug three last night

(01/18/03 10:00am)

According to University Chief of Police Tom Rambo, the first incident occurred around 7:50 p.m. on the 3800 block of the street. Two female students reported that a black male approached them from behind and put his hand on the back of one student's head. The two students handed over their purses and the man fled the scene. The students described the perpetrator as a black male in his twenties, around six feet tall, with a thin build and a dark complexion. They also said that he was wearing a black knit hat and a black puffy jacket. According to Rambo, the second incident occurred around 9:14 p.m. on the 3400 block of Ludlow Street. A female complainant reported that a black male approached her. The woman screamed and the perpetrator fled the scene before he could take anything from her. Rambo said that the description of the perpetrator involved in the second incident resembles that of the first. The victim of the second incident described the perpetrator as a black male around 20 years old, who was wearing dark clothing. Rambo urges all Penn students to exercise extreme caution when walking around Philadelphia. He reminds students to avoid walk alone and encourages them to use the University's escort service by calling (215) 898-WALK or (215) 898-RIDE.

U. Police official to leave post

(01/14/03 10:00am)

This month, the University of Pennsylvania Police Department will bid farewell to a pioneer policewoman, Associate Director of Special Services Maureen Kelly. Kelly has recently accepted the position of director of Safety and Security at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. She will assume her new role on Feb. 10. "It is a bittersweet experience for us because Maureen came to Penn with a lot of experience as a law enforcement officer and as a humanitarian," Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. She added, "It's a loss to Penn and Special Services... but it's a credit to Maureen and to Public Safety." In 1976, Kelly was among the first Philadelphia Police Academy class that included women. After graduation, she worked in the Philadelphia Police force for 23 years. She reached the rank of lieutenant in the homicide division and was a supervisor to a task force for the Drug Enforcement Agency. In 1998, Kelly retired from the Philadelphia Police Department and moved to Bosnia to work for a United Nations international policing task force. While in Bosnia, Kelly worked for human rights and trained local police. Specifically, she investigated war crimes and promoted safety for women. After returning to the United States, Kelly took the position of associate director of Special Services at Penn in November of 2000. Director of Special Services Patricia Brennan said that Kelly was an invaluable asset to the department. "She's brought a ton of warmth and compassion with her, which is primarily what we need here at Special Services," Brennan said. As associate director, Kelly investigated cases and worked one-on-one with victims and perpetrators. She also worked with resource centers and student groups to educate students about safety. Kelly said her experience as a Philadelphia policewoman and a United Nations investigator prepared her for her position at Penn. However, her role within the University brought rewards that her previous positions did not. "What I enjoy the most is working with students," Kelly said. "It's a breath of fresh air after working with drug dealers." Kelly said she is excited for her new job and looks forward to the transition. At Franklin and Marshall, she will take on a more administrative role, working with a team of detectives beneath her. However, she still plans to maintain a presence outside of her office as well. Yet despite her excitement about her new position, Kelly said she will be sad to leave her home in Philadelphia. "I'll miss everyone here," she said. "They're a great group of people." Kelly's colleagues said they will miss her as well. "We're thrilled for Maureen for the advancement," Rush said. "We'll miss her, but we know that the people of F&M; will be well taken care of." Brennan said she will also miss Kelly, but knows Kelly will thrive in her new role. "I know she'll succeed," Brennan said. "I'm absolutely thrilled for her -- she deserves it." Former University Executive Vice President John Fry left Penn in July to become president of Franklin and Marshall.

Wharton junior no stranger to being in spotlight at Penn

(01/13/03 10:00am)

Over the last month, the disappearance of David Dantzler-Wolfe has captured the attention of the Penn community. Missing person posters have dotted the campus with pictures of the Wharton junior. But who is the person behind the snapshot? Who is the student in the spotlight? It turns out that Dantzler-Wolfe is a performer by nature. The spotlight is normally where he appears at his best -- in a positive context, in an uplifting way. * Dantzler-Wolfe's godmother, Patricia Griffin, said he has always thrived on stage. According to Griffin, Dantzler-Wolfe started playing the violin at age three. She remembers duets with his brother John at church gatherings and community events. At Penn, Dantzler-Wolfe joined Chord on Blues, a student a cappella group, during his freshman year. College senior Ronjon Bhattacharya remembers Dantzler-Wolfe's audition well. According to Bhattacharya, the Chords had finished their four-hour auditions in a Hill College House lounge when Dantzler-Wolfe walked into the room. The members were sprawled out on the floor, disheveled and exhausted. "In comes David, and the guy's tiny," Bhattacharya said. "He looks like he's thirteen. I was wondering if he was even a Penn student." The Chords agreed to listen to Dantzler-Wolfe, despite his late arrival and their fatigue. They rearranged themselves in a semicircle -- twelve sets of eyes staring him down. But Dantzler-Wolfe was not fazed. "He starts jamming, he starts dancing," Bhattacharya remembered. "He was totally at ease, even though he didn't know any of us.... We were just totally blown away." That's how many describe Dantzler-Wolfe -- a performer who is totally comfortable on stage. Creative, talented and exciting to watch. According to several of the Chords, Dantzler-Wolfe arranged much of their music. They say he was about to be elected musical director when he disappeared. However, Dantzler-Wolfe is also known for his ability to freestyle, surprising the audience and even his own group. During a mixer with Yofi!, Penn's Israeli dance troupe, Dantzler-Wolfe performed a solo in his signature piece, U2's "Mysterious Ways." The two groups had crowded around a small dining room table, and Dantzler-Wolfe sat among them. But as the Chords neared the end of the piece, Dantzler-Wolfe stood up and belted out lyrics from a different U2 song. "You've got stuck in a moment, and you can't get out of it," he sang. Then Dantzler-Wolfe sat down, as if nothing had happened. The Chords say that is a typical Dantzler-Wolfe move. He lets himself go -- singing, dancing and rapping. "On stage he just did whatever the heck he wanted to do," Bhattacharya said. "He is so creative and so musically talented that he totally got away with it." Chords member and College senior Tommy Lee said that audiences love Dantzler-Wolfe's spontaneity. They respond to his energy. "He really tried to reach out on stage," he said. "He had a great presence." * But now the Chords will begin a new semester without Dantzler-Wolfe. They say they will miss his voice, his expertise and his enthusiasm. "He contributed a lot to our group," said Yee-Shin Huang, president of the Chords. "We're all very sad." But, of course, those close to Dantzler-Wolfe will miss more than his stage persona and his musical arrangements. "We are all terribly worried about David," Harnwell College House Dean Suhnne Ahn said. "Our hearts ache for his entire family." For Dantzler-Wolfe's friends and relatives, life is the stage now. And until they find him, they are all stuck in a moment and they just can't get out of it.

Student missing over a month

(01/13/03 10:00am)

Police are still searching for David Dantzler-Wolfe, the Wharton junior last seen over a month ago. According to Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush, police do not have any promising leads in the case at this time. "We're not ruling anything out, including suicide," Rush said. She also emphasized that University police will continue searching for Dantzler-Wolfe indefinitely. "This is the kind of case that will never go cold," Rush said. According to University of Pennsylvania Police Special Services Director Patricia Brennan, Dantzler-Wolfe was last seen around 8 a.m. on Dec. 10. Brennan said that at that time, Dantzler-Wolfe entered Harnwell College House wearing dark pants, a backpack and a red and gray hooded sweatshirt. According to Rush, Dantzler-Wolfe did not show up for his scheduled exams on Dec. 10 or 11. Although federal guidelines mandate that police wait 72 hours before filing a missing person's claim, the Special Services Department began investigating as soon as it realized Dantzler-Wolfe was missing. "At Penn, we have never waited an hour if we suspect there's something wrong," Rush said. She explained that police began by alerting the student's family and calling area hospitals and the medical examiner's office. "It became clear as we approached the 24-hour mark that no one had seen him," Rush said. Since then, University police have worked with Philadelphia police, college house deans, student groups and local media to spread the word about Dantzler-Wolfe's disappearance. "At this point, I would venture to say there isn't anybody who doesn't know about this," Rush said. University President Judith Rodin echoed Rush's sentiments. "I think we've done everything we can to inform the community," Rodin said. "We think people know." Rodin also said that Dantzler-Wolfe's family visited Penn over winter break and chose to remove his belongings from his room. However, Rodin still expressed optimism about the outcome of the search. "We continue to be hopeful that we will find him," she said. "We're not going to give up." In the meantime, University officials have taken steps to prepare for the possible impact Dantzler-Wolfe's disappearance will have on other Penn students. According to Harnwell College House Dean Suhnne Ahn, Dantzler-Wolfe's friends and hallmates will be invited to attend a group meeting with counselors from Counseling and Psychological Services. Rush said that CAPS was prepared to help all students deal with the situation. She added that she was relying on college houses to help students return to school. "That's the whole purpose of the college house system," Rush said. "These are things that are just set in stone here -- it's automatic." University officials continue to express concern for Dantzler-Wolfe's well-being and sympathy for the members of his family. Police urge anyone who may have any information regarding the case to call the Special Services Department at (215) 898-6600. "If there's any information, no matter how small or how minute or unimportant you think it is, it might help us solve a puzzle," Rush said.