Grad student struck, dragged by stolen car

A car speeding the wrong way down Fifth Avenue at Bigelow Boulevard struck and critically… A car speeding the wrong way down Fifth Avenue at Bigelow Boulevard struck and critically injured a Pitt graduate student June 26.

Jennifer Lynn Burroughs, 25, was standing on the sidewalk in front of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association when a gray Chrysler sedan hit her around 10 p.m.

Burroughs was a half year into a master’s program at the Katz Graduate School of Business when the accident occurred.

According to Pittsburgh police, a Port Authority police officer spotted the Chrysler driving in the bus-only lane on Fifth Avenue near Craft Avenue. After a brief chase, police lost sight of the car, which apparently lost control and crashed through newspaper dispensers and a garbage can just past the Bigelow Boulevard intersection.

The car had pinned Burroughs to the sidewalk near the front steps of the PAA on Fifth Avenue, opposite the flow of traffic.

“We walked around the front of the car, and all of a sudden a guy in a tuxedo said, ‘Oh my, there’s someone under here,'” Chad Church, of Melwood Avenue, said, recounting the scene he saw moments after the collision.

Church was one of the first people to pull over his own car and attempt to help at the scene of the accident.

“It was three or four minutes before anybody recognized she was under that car,” Church added. “It wasn’t gory, the scene, but it was as graphic as I’ve ever seen.”

The paramedics arrived five to 10 minutes after four people tried unsuccessfully to help the injured woman, Church said.

According to Burroughs’ husband Greg Burroughs, she suffered a broken ankle, wrist, shoulder blades, pelvis, tailbone and six ribs. She also suffered burns from hot leaking fluids on her torso, arms and thighs after being dragged under the car. She also suffered bleeding and a clot in her brain.

“I heard after the fact that homicide was put on the case ‘because she was going to die,’ not because ‘she might die,'” Greg, who was not present at the scene of the accident, said in an e-mail to The Pitt News.

The sedan involved in the accident had been stolen the previous week from Highland Park.

Church said the drivers of the car had apparently fled the scene.

Moments later, police caught up with the three men who were in the car and arrested and charged 19-year-old Christopher Titus, of Garfield, with aggravated assault, fleeing police and receiving stolen property.

Titus will face formal arraignment for his crimes Sept. 24, Greg said.

Another car parked on Fifth Avenue between Bigelow Boulevard and Lytton Street received front bumper damage when it was struck by a garbage can.

As for Jennifer, she cannot remember the accident and first awoke two days after it, her husband said.

Released from UPMC at the end of July, she is recovering at Kindred Hospital in Oakdale, Pa., finishing up a series of surgeries this month that will allow her to begin rehabilitation therapy.

She is currently in a wheelchair, and the timeline and possibility of a full recovery is uncertain, her husband added.

However, Jennifer wants to be out of the hospital and back home by Labor Day, and she still plans to complete her MBA degree.

“All she needs is a goal and she will hit it,” her husband said. “Her strength, determination and perseverance have truly allowed her to survive an accident she should not have survived.”

A website,, has been set up for donations, raffles and to leave messages in support of Jennifer Burroughs and her recovery.