Swat Freshman Hit by Truck

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The DelCo Times is reporting that Mairin Din ’12 hit a plumber’s truck while riding her bicycle to Mary Lyons. She was not wearing a helmet. According to an email Dean of Students Jim Larimore sent to the student body, the incident occurred at the intersection of Yale and Harvard.

The Times article reports that Din rode into the driver’s side door of the moving truck. No charges have been filed.

Din was transported to the Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit. Larimore’s email told the student body that Mairin has had surgery, but remains hospitalized.

[ Last Updated: 9/25 @ 5:46 PM ]


  1. 0
    Alex says:

    It is terrible that something like this had to happen. I do hope the student has a speedy recovery and that people are more careful in the future at this crossing. I lived in ML for one year and one summer and never felt unsafe at this intersection. Most of the time, however, I did have to wait a very long time at the corner before the roads were clear so that I could cross (looking both ways and listening carefully were always really important though). For my friends and I, the issue we faced at the intersection was inconvenience rather than a lack of safety, and I never knew of any close calls a few years ago when I was a student That being said, it is about time that some stops signs are put in to make crossing quicker and safer. I think that putting in a bridge (something we also discussed as students) is probably going a little overboard.

    Closing ML is not a good solution. There are plenty of other schools that have dorms this far or farther away from where classes are. The campus has plenty of buildings already and doesn’t need another one cluttering up the area let alone even more construction. In addition, the new main target of fundraising campaigns at Swat right now is to raise money for the new “no loans” policy, so adding another campaign for a dorm right now (especially because Kemp was and Alice Paul is pretty new too) doesn’t really make sense. Finally, ML (aside from the basement rooms) is a really nice place. It has an outstanding community, the rooms are big, private bathrooms are shared by only a few people, and the breakfast room is outstanding. Taking this way as an option for students would not work.

    Finally, I also have to agree with M. The title of the article is misleading because the first line in the first paragraph points out that the student hit the truck, not the opposite way around.

  2. 0
    SG says:

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Din family. We wish her a full recovery and strength to her family in their time of need. Lets also remember the other person (driver of vehicle she struck) involved in this horrible tragedy too- our thoughts and prayers are with you as well since clearly nobody hopes to be involved in such a horrible accident. Heres hoping that something positive will occur in terms of the safety of all at that intersection in light of this tragedy.

  3. 0
    Irvington, NY says:

    To our lovely Mairin… Friday at 7:15 p.m. “Mairin’s Walk” will take place back home inIrvington. The candle lit vigil will bring you so much love and good wishes for a speedy recovery. The entire community is praying for you and your family.We love you,

  4. 0
    Jennifer Baker says:

    I saw the accident, and although I don’t know Mairin personally, I would very much like to hear how she is doing. I wish her a speedy recovery.
    Also, I would like to see the college make a serious effort to teach bike safety to students who ride back and forth between dorm and campus. They need to wear helmets, stop at stop signs and not use headphones while riding!

  5. 0
    west coast parent says:

    To Mairin’s family, I just want you to know we are praying for the recovery of Mairin. We feel very connected even though we are far away.

    Could The Gazette publish an address to send a card to the family? Maybe a box at the school post office?

    As for M L. Maybe it could be made into a guest house for those visiting the school. I think all students should have the chance to live on campus. At least freshman should not be housed there.

  6. 0
    Lucas Sanders says:

    John — my understanding is that the shuttle program was established mostly because of concerns about that intersection. We can argue over whether that was a “substantial response” — certainly I think that a larger response needs to be taken by *someone* and that the College should, at the least, strongly support someone else’s proposal for a larger response — but it’s not true that they’ve turned a completely deaf ear.

    Parent II — a lot of students do use the shuttle, when their schedules permit. Sometimes people find that their schedules don’t mesh well with the shuttle schedule, though, and so they end up riding a bike or walking. Others (like me, when I lived there) just prefer to get some exercise and a better view of their surroundings during the trip to campus.

    To address your other question in full: despite several pedestrian crossing signs and a well-marked crosswalk, it would indeed be somewhat safer for pedestrians to cross at the light at Chester & Yale Avenues. If I recall correctly, though, there is no pedestrian-specific signal at that intersection, and that intersection certainly sees heavy traffic at certain times of day along both roads, facts that can make a proper pedestrian crossing with the light at that intersection fairly inconvenient. Of course, that route slightly lengthens (and massively uglifies) the walk to campus as well. Finally, sidewalks along Chester Ave are occasionally not as well maintained during the winter months as those on other roads, and in places feel rather cramped (mostly because of encroaching vegetation) at any time of the year.

    Moreover, there is likely no safety benefit for bicycles to go up the hill to the light. Unlike pedestrians, bicycles are vehicles and expected to use the road when available, and I’d personally take my gamble with a full crossing at Harvard and Yale than attempt to bike on both Yale Ave and Chester Ave. Returning to ML, as Mairin apparently was, you’d need a left turn from Yale onto Harvard anyway, which isn’t necessarily safer than a full crossing of Yale. (If there’s heavy traffic, for instance, you could easily end up stopped in the middle of Yale Ave — a two-lane road — with motorized traffic whizzing past you on both sides and/or honking their horn behind you.)

    It is, in my experience and despite dangerous driving by motorists, pretty much always possible for a highly alert pedestrian or bicyclist to make a safe crossing at that intersection. There is just enough distance to see cars coming around that corner soon enough to make a good decision about whether to cross for the near side of the road, and for slower pedestrians, enough time to sensibly react to stupid driving on the far side of the road. Those with physical handicaps probably shouldn’t attempt the crossing as a pedestrian, but could probably be fine on a bicycle if they’re fit to ride one. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unrealistic to assume that college students will, at the end of a long day, never be listening to music that blocks out the noise around them and always come to a full stop to assess the traffic before crossing and all these things. Especially when the example set for them by a few of the drivers on Yale is to go considerably faster than the posted speed limit, accelerating around a blind corner, all while talking on their cell phone. (In fairness, most distracted drivers at the intersection pick just two out of those three. Not that that improves matters considerably.)

    Scott — I don’t agree that it’s a logistical impossibility to make that intersection safer. I just think that it will take a long process to do so. If a group of people spent even half the effort expended on the Living Wage campaign that so embroiled the campus a few years back, I bet you could get some very significant changes to take place.

    Unfortunately, most students don’t enter Swarthmore with the intersection of Harvard and Yale on their radar screen as a social justice issue, the way they might come to the College energized to fight for better staff compensation or the elimination of genocide or malarial relief or any of a number of other things. By the time people start to think about it as both an important issue and as an issue they can take action to remedy, they tend not to have as much time left at Swarthmore or in their schedule to engage in such action, or they tend to see more globally relevant issues as more worthy of their prolonged time and attention.

    Your comment suggests to me that you might be bitterly opposed to living in ML. If you really care that much about it, you can almost certainly avoid living there (by talking to the Housing Coordinator if not by other means), though I’d encourage you to give it a fair shake if you end up there and haven’t already. I could say more about why I don’t think closing ML is a good practical move for the College, but I’ll refrain, since this is getting overly long already and I’m not quite done yet.

    More to the point, I see no reason why the other community members who live in that corner of the borough don’t have an equal need for realistic pedestrian transportation at that intersection. There’s a community garden just across Harvard Ave from ML; are we to suggest that people living in the Strath Haven Condos should need vehicular transportation to safely tend a garden less than a block away from their home? There are a number of professors who live in that neck of the woods, too — is the safety of our professors any less important to the College than the safety of our students? Or should our transportation policies continue to encourage these professors to drive to campus, something that grates against the intention of the College’s recent sustainability efforts?

    I’ll conclude that, while building a pedestrian bridge would be a massive expense and involve coordinating with a number of organizations, the cost of a bridge and everything necessary to get it approved is almost certainly no more expensive than building a new 100-bed dorm would be. (That’d be a project roughly on the scale of Alice Paul and David Kemp *combined*.) If also accompanied by a widening of the sidewalk out to ML to let bicycles move off the road, such a project could encourage non-motorized forms of transportation throughout the wider Swarthmore community. I would think that finding outside donors and grants to defray the cost of a bridge would therefore be easier than getting such funding for a new, more centrally located dorm, in addition to being a much more distinctive project. I’m not saying that a pedestrian bridge is necessarily the right solution — a four-way stop should also be quite effective and would much, much cheaper to implement — but it’s definitely something to consider if we’re going to start talking about building a whole new dorm.

  7. 0
    Rio Akasaka ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A lot of students do use the shuttle, but if you have a bike it’s often quicker to ride back, particularly if you’ve forgotten something and need to retrieve it.

    Also, on behalf of the Daily Gazette, we’re working to get the news accurately and as swiftly as possible to the community.

  8. 0
    Laura Giles says:

    Parent II: ML sits on Harvard Ave right at the intersection of Yale Ave. You have to cross Yale to get to campus – unless you want to walk “backwards” around and through he borough which isn’t feasible time-wise.

    The shuttle only runs in the early mornings and evenings, not during the day, so students are pretty much stuck with walking/biking. Why not run the shuttle during the day, guys?

  9. 0
    Rachael Mansbach says:

    Parent II:
    The shuttle only runs part of the time, so we can’t take it during the middle of the day. And the only other way to get to campus is actually a really big detour, so we unfortunately don’t have much choice.

  10. 0
    Parent II says:

    Please all of you students (and parents, etc), wear bike helmets whenever you bike!
    Is there a safer way to bike and/or walk to and from ML?
    Do a lot of students just use the shuttle?

  11. 0
    John says:

    Parent: Swarthmore College has been aware of the tremendous hazards affiliated with that crossing for years. Reports of several “near misses” have been made to administrators but there has no substantial response. If there had been, some sort of fixture would have been in place to ensure the safety of the hundreds of students that cross that road each day. Thus, Swarthmore College bears a significant portion of the responsibility.

  12. 0
    parent says:

    I’m sure that the College IS helping the family in every way possible. I don’t quite understand the “tremendous responsibility” part for an accident that occured on a public roadway. That seems to be a stretch.

    Should all colleges and universities close dorms that are as far from campus center as ML? This would make for a lot of homeless students at the vast majority of campuses across the country. What about colleges and universities that don’t provide college owned housing for all of their students, forcing them to go out in the real world to seek shelter?


    There are Swarthmore parents following this thread as if the student were our own. As privacy permits, some kind of update would be very much much appreciated. Thanks.

  13. 0
    Scott says:

    Given the seeming logistic impossibility of making that intersection safer and protecting our students, maybe it’s really time now to CLOSE ML as a dorm, use some of the College’s endowment to build a New New New dorm, and bring all students back on campus where they belong.

  14. 0
    Lucas Sanders says:

    Scott, and others talking about changing signage or regulations at the intersection of Harvard and Yale — I couldn’t agree more that some sort of change in this regard is really needed. Ideally, I’d even like to see a pedestrian bridge over Yale at that intersection, given the track record it has for reckless driving and near misses of all sorts. But that may be less than practical, so I’d certainly settle for a four-way stop or even just prolonged and concerted speed enforcement (lasting for months, not weeks) on those couple blocks of Yale Avenue. Anything else is, in my opinion, all too likely to be entirely ignored by most drivers in 6 months or less, based on my experiences as a three-year ML resident who regularly made the trip to campus on foot.

    After all, I was very nearly mowed down by a school bus — yes, I’ve encountered lots of reckless drivers on that road, but a Swarthmore/Wallingford *school bus*? — at that intersection last year. The bus had to have been going close to 55 or more around that curve; it’s a very good thing for everyone that there wasn’t any oncoming traffic that afternoon…

    Unfortunately, it’ll take quite an effort to push through any serious changes. It’s not just a matter of getting the College and the borough together to work out a solution, because Yale Avenue is a state-maintained road, and so any regulation changes at the intersection — or signage changes on Yale — have to go through the state bureaucracy. Further, the state DOT usually seeks to make decisions based on long-term statistics, not single anecdotes like this accident. Since we’ve been lucky in that previous incidents at the intersection have been near misses or have caused only minor harm, making a statistical case would probably require a data gathering effort to demonstrate that the intersection is dangerous (because of rampant speeding, etc).

    If I were still in town, I’d probably be volunteering to help with any effort that arose to push for changes at that intersection, if not leading such an effort myself. In the unlikely event there’s anything I can do to help such a group from Orono, ME, certainly let me know. (My SCCS e-mail account will still reach me.) In any case, this news makes me more deeply regret that, when I was an RA in ML last year, our dorm team let the issue drop for lack of time and energy after hearing the above information from the borough police.

    To Mairin (and her family), you’re definitely in my thoughts and prayers. I sincerely wish you a swift recovery.

  15. 0
    Your buds says:

    Your friends from colleges and universities all over the USA are hoping and praying for your recovery. We want to see you run at OUR schools! Love and Strength, Mairin!

  16. 0
    Irvington Families says:

    Mairin and family, We are thinking of you constantly-your fine mind, your speed, your charm, your sweetness, beauty, and goodness. And what a good friend and neighbor you have always been. These are powerful things that will help you heal. We imagine you surrounded by your loving, strong family, and the very best of care. We send you so much love and hope.

  17. 0
    Amy Panitz says:

    I can’t stop thinking about and praying for one of the brighest, sweetest, most beautiful fourth graders I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. Mairin, and family, I send you strength.

  18. 0
    Gael says:

    To Swathmore College, its President, faculty, student body and the Swathmore Community; I would like to express my deep appreciation and eternal gratitude to you all for your kind support of Mairin, her mother Erin, father Bob, sister Deirdre and brother Aidan. The overwhelming generosity of heart, spirit and resources expressed and offered by all has been a gentle balm during this tragic time. Thank you so very much.

    Mairin’s Aunt Gael

  19. 0
    M says:

    Why is the title of this article “Swat Freshman Hit by Truck,” when the first line states that “Mairin Din ’12 hit a plumber’s truck” on her bike, rather than the truck hitting her? It seems a tad biased, especially since the article has no details about the specific cause of the accident.

  20. 0
    Jenn says:

    The Daily Gazette should not base their articles off one source. Was there additional confirmation about the story, or does the Gazette just rephrase other newspaper’s articles?

    To Mairin’s family and friends, please know that the Swarthmore community is behind you and ready to support you in whatever way possible. Mairin will be in my prayers for a quick and safe recovery.

  21. 0
    Tiffany says:

    I don’t think it’s relevant to ask or even mention what was seen at the accident site. In fact, when taking into account that many of the concerned members of the community and possibly members of Mairin’s family might read this comment section, I believe it’s inappropriate and insensitive. Please show respect for Mairin.

  22. 0
    Scott says:

    To Steve N’s point, above, regarding the danger inherent at that intersection, can’t the College and borough work together to increase signage at that intersection? Doesn’t seem like it would be that expensive to put a few flashing lights or four-way stop there. This cannot be allowed to happen again. To change the world, start in your own community!

  23. 0
    Marcus says:

    I always thought it was a matter of time before somebody got hit at that intersection. Cars are always speeding by and I think that there should be a stoplight placed at that intersection if not only for the student’s safety. Nobody can see what’s coming around the curve before it’s too late.

  24. 0
    Steve Nazigian says:

    I am a longtime resident of the area and happened to drive past the accident scene just after the ambulance departed, before the area was cleaned up. From what I saw, I can’t stop thinking about how horrible it must have been. To be peacefully pedaling along Harvard Avenue through block after block of quiet tree-lined streets and then to cross just one more corner that happens to be Yale Avenue where the speed limit is 35 and vehicles are hoping to “make the light” at the top of a blind curve– it’s a recipe for tragedy. Everyone, please pedal attentively, wear a helmet, and never wear earbuds that will prevent you from hearing traffic.

  25. 0
    Miles Skorpen ( User Karma: 6 ) says:

    Thank you for noting the incorrect spelling of Mairin’s name. Unfortunately, this update was based off of the DelCo Time’s report, where it was reported that “Marian Din” had been involved in the accident. The article has been updated.

  26. 0
    Laura Giles says:

    I was offended by the laziness of the reporting for this story and, in particular, by the misspelling of Mairin’s name. She’s part of your community now: embrace her and respect her and her family. Check your facts.

  27. 0
    Matt says:

    I second Margot. Please fact check before posting an article with the poor girl’s name spelled wrong and absolutely no information. Its more important to get the information right than to rush it out to be the first on campus with the news. That being said, I really hope she is okay.

  28. 0
    Margot says:

    You should really work on writing articles that contain solid, concrete facts (including spelling the student’s name correctly), and not speculation. Updates like this only cause panic and rumors. Please respect Mairin, her teammates, and her family by providing a comprehensive, helpful update, and nothing less. If you don’t have the facts, get them. Then print.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *