Funeral held for UNCC student killed after falling from emergency window on party bus

Funeral held for UNCC student killed after falling from emergency window on party bus
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)
(Ben Williamson | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The funeral for a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student who was killed in a tragic party bus accident was held Monday.

According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, UNC Charlotte sophomore Polly Miranda Rogers, 20, was riding a Charlotte Party Charter bus when she fell out of the emergency window around 10:30 p.m. Tuesdat in the 4500 block of N Tryon Street.

Rogers was then struck by two vehicles, police said. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they have talked to one of the drivers who struck Rogers and are looking for the second to get some of their questions answered. There is no description for that second vehicle.

According to her obituary, Rogers' funeral was held at the St. John's Episcopal Church on Carmel Road at 2 p.m. Monday. Her family will receive friends following the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Rogers' name to St. John's Episcopal Church, according to her obituary.

Rogers, who is from Charlotte, was an active member at her church. According to her obituary, she "was an active presence in the youth group, a ringer in the hand bell choir, and a faithful, humble servant in mission work."

Classmates held a vigil on UNC Charlotte's campus on Sunday to remember the 20-year-old. Her parents were at Sunday's vigil standing beside dozens of men and women who loved their daughter just the same.

They asked for no contact from the media as they're dealing with something no parent should ever have to go through.

"We should remember her as the beautiful human that she was," Alexis Burns, who was one of Rogers' sorority sisters, said. "She had such a fun spirit and was so sarcastic and just witty and loved to laugh and loved to make people smile."

Most of Rogers' friend have not talked about her death until Sunday night.

Those who knew the 20-year-old, like her coworkers at the YMCA, say she was loving, adventurous and unforgettable."I don't know if she knew how much of an impact she had on the people around her," one coworker said.

Rogers volunteered at that YMCA with children with autism.

She was studying special education at UNC Charlotte, school officials said.

According to the police report, alcohol was being consumed on the bus, but alcohol use as a factor in Rogers' death is still under investigation. Several of Rogers' friends said Kappa Sigma was the group who rented the party bus. The UNC Charlotte fraternity chapter was suspended after the incident because they were the ones to rent out the bus.

Thursday, Kappa Sigma released the following statement on the fraternity chapter's suspension:

"The Brothers of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Polly Rogers. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Rogers family and to her loved ones. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity has suspended the operations of our Kappa-Omega Chapter at the University of North Carolina Charlotte , and we are in the process of conducting an investigation of the event on Tuesday evening. The Kappa Sigma Fraternity will fully cooperate with all investigations of the University and local authorities."

Charlotte Party Charter owner Victor Rabb said there were about 55 to 60 people on the bus when the trip started at UNCC's campus. The bus was headed to a bar in uptown Charlotte from an off-campus home on Mallard Creek Road - where Kappa Sigma is located - when Rogers fell out.

Alcohol is allowed to be brought onto the bus, according to Charlotte Party Charter's website. The site also states everyone on the bus must be at least 21 years old if alcohol is present, but the company says they are not responsible for verifying the ages of the passengers.

The party bus company claims it's the responsibility of the group to make sure everyone on board is 21 and over.

Rabb says he is fully cooperating with investigators. He also says he's never experienced anything like this in his 13 years of business.

A student says Rogers was in the university's Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Rogers' sorority sisters created a GoFundMe page to help with memorial costs. "This tragedy has left unexpected expenses placed on the Rogers family," the GoFundMe post states.

"Our hearts are broken, but we take peace in knowing that Polly's spirit surrounds us, comfort in the memories that we cherish in our hearts, and hope in the promise that we will see our sweet girl again," her obituary stated.

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