By ERIN ROLL
A Montclair State University faculty member was killed in a motor vehicle accident on Grove Street Wednesday night, according to a statement released by the university.
Mary DeFilippis, 73, was the academic adviser for the MBA program at the Feliciano School of Business. She was out for her evening walk when she was struck, according to a statement from Greg Cant, the dean of the business school.
Township Police Lt. David O’Dowd released a statement early Thursday that a female pedestrian was crossing the street at the intersection of Chester Road around 9:14 p.m. when she was hit by a Ford Focus traveling northbound on Grove Street.
The driver in the incident, a 60-year-old Bloomfield woman, remained at the scene. Her name has not been released. DeFilippis, a mother of three, was taken to Mountainside Medical Center. It wasn’t known if she was alive or dead on arrival at the facility.
Local police are working with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the incident, according to O’Dowd.
A resident living at the corner of Chester and Grove, who requested not to be identified, said she was in her house Wednesday night when she “heard a sickening thump.” She looked out her window and saw DeFilippis lying in the middle of Grove, the vehicle that hit her and the driver.
“I saw the poor driver get out and she saw what she had done, and she just looked like she was devastated,” the resident said. “You feel for everybody involved: the poor woman who lost her life, the poor woman who hit her. It can happen that fast.”
A young man who had been driving by stopped and began administering CPR to DeFilippis, according to the resident, and local police and EMTs arrived quickly at the scene and took over.
Julie Brinley also lives on Chester Road, near the accident site.
“The police were on the scene for a long time after the incident and I could see their flashing lights through my window. My husband, children and I are all shaken up today,” she said Thursday. . “We heard a loud noise last night and couldn’t believe it was from this tragic accident. My husband spoke to the driver and she said she didn’t see her in the crosswalk.”
Brinley said that that portion of Grove Street is not well-lit.
“There is no light at this crosswalk and it’s so dark,” she said. “I truly feel sick and angry about the lighting and crosswalk situation in Montclair.”
The other resident who lives near the accident site also complained about the poor lighting at night at the corner, where there is only one street light, as well as motorists speeding down Grove Street.
MSU Provost Willard Gingerich announced DeFilippis’s passing in a statement emailed to the university community on Thursday. That statement was also shared on social media.
“I know you join me in sending Mary’s husband George and her sons Stephen, John and Michael our deepest sympathy,” Gingerich stated.
“Throughout her career Mary has been a tremendous contributor to MSU,” Cant said in his statement. “We could always rely on her to come to events, take on the extra responsibility, make thoughtful contributions, stay until the job is finished, maintain the highest standards…she exemplified the caring professional. Mary has had a rich and full life and would have turned 74 this December.”
DeFilippis began her career at MSU as the Secretary of the Hispanic Institute for Applied Psychology in 1993 and over the past 24 years she worked in the Psychoeducational Center and the Educational Opportunity Fund Programs before joining the business school in 2002. Her first duty there was as the secretary for the Department of Information & Decision Sciences and Management & Information Systems, according to MSU.
Follow Montclair Local for more information as the story develops.
Linda Moss contributed to this story.