By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — A 2012 Oneonta High School graduate who died Saturday was remembered as a student who enjoyed sports, had an infectious smile and helped others.
Jared Trotti, 18, was found dead in a car at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the University at Albany, where he had been visiting friends, University Police said. A cause of death is pending autopsy and toxicology reports, police said, but the case isn’t considered a suicide or crime.
“It looks like it was an unfortunate and tragic accident,” Inspector Aran Mull of University Police said Sunday.
Trotti had just finished his freshman year at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
But many of his peers remain at OHS, where the school’s crisis team will be ready to assist students today, said Thomas Brindley, associate principal.
Brindley said that he was notified by Oneonta police about Trotti’s death Saturday, and that he heard that day from many students, parents and faculty who were shocked by the news. OHS enrolls about 560 students, Brindley said, and Trotti was well-liked and respected by peers and faculty.
“Jared was a great kid — he had this infectious smile, he had a great sense of humor,” Brindley said. “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the Trotti family.
Trotti was active in the youth group at the First United Methodist Church and went on its mission trip to Jamaica to help build a school, said the Rev. Teressa Sivers, pastor of the Oneonta congregation. He was a mature, delightful young man, she said.
“He was just this beautiful shining light — beautiful smile, tons of laughter,” Sivers said. Trotti recently had visited the church during a college break and spent a couple of hours with friends. His death was “our tragic loss,” said Sivers, who started the service Sunday morning with a moment of silence in his honor.
Trotti, who had links to almost 600 friends on Facebook, was a first-year student studying business, said an official at Elizabethtown College, near Harrisburg, about 250 miles from Oneonta. The private, liberal arts college enrolls about 1,900 students.
Trotti had lived in Schlosser Residence Hall, a community that included engineering and honors students, said Elizabeth Braungard, a college spokeswoman, and he was as active in intramural sports including flag football, ultimate Frisbee and dodge ball.
“We’re heartbroken,” Braungard said Sunday.
Friday was the last day of finals for the term, she said, and most undergraduate students had left. The campus administration shared news of Trotti’s death through email on Saturday to students, faculty and staff, she said, and on Facebook on Sunday.
“It is with great sadness that we share news of the death of Jared Trotti, a first-year business major at Elizabethtown College from Oneonta,” the Facebook posting said. “Our thoughts are with the Trotti family.”
At the University at Albany, Mull said emergency crews and officers responded to a report at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday of someone having died in a car parked in the visitors’ lot near the Indian Quad, a group of all-freshman residence buildings.
Mull said Trotti’s body is at the Albany County Medical Examiner’s Office. Results from toxicology tests could take six to eight weeks, he said. Officers consulted with the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, but the death is considered accidental, he said.
Mull said classes ended Friday and final exams are this week at the university, which enrolls about 17,300 undergraduate and graduate students. Trotti had arrived Friday with friends in a car, Mull said, but he withheld further details until the investigation is complete.