Pak fully recovered after car accident

Youngsook Pak, the Korea Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor in History of Art and East Asian Studies who was struck by a car while crossing High Street on Feb. 10, has fully recovered from the minor injuries she sustained during the accident.

Pak is thankful that the vehicle that hit her was travelling slowly, she said Monday. She sustained a few bruises, suffered no broken bones and was released from Yale-New Haven Hospital hours after she was transported there two Fridays ago. Although New Haven Police Department officers who responded to the incident determined that Pak was at fault, Pak said she hopes the University will consider closing High Street to traffic to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Pak described her accident as “unfortunate,” but she added that even her own students were not aware she had been in an accident until the News published a story about the incident the following Wednesday. No University administrators have contacted her about the incident, she said, but Art History Department faculty were especially supportive once they heard what had happened.

Pak was struck by a car when she stepped off the right-side curb, on the Old Campus side of High Street, City Hall Spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said last week. Pak said yesterday that she was on her way to the library at the time, although she has no recollection of the accident itself.

According to the police report filed about the incident, the vehicle that hit Pak was travelling at about 15 miles per hour when the driver heard a thump. The driver stopped her car immediately and then saw Pak lying on the pavement.

The driver was “very upset,” according to the report.

The NHPD said Pak, not the driver, was at fault because Pak had been crossing the street at an unmarked location.

In spite of the NHPD’s findings, Pak said it makes sense to close off traffic on High Street — effectively re-routing cars to York Street — to open up space for pedestrians. Pak emphasized High Street’s location between Saybrook College, Branford College and Old Campus, saying that its proximity to so many residential spaces makes the street pedestrian-heavy.

“The city and the University should consider carefully — to avoid the possibility of grave accidents — closing up this section of this campus street,” she said. “When you’re walking along [High Street], it doesn’t feel like a major street.”

In early October of last year, Branford College student Andromahi “Mahi” Trivellas ’11 was hit by a car late one night near the corner of York and Elm streets. Trivellas suffered serious spinal and neck injuries and had to take the rest of the semester off to recover, but she has since returned for the spring semester.

Art History Department Chair David Joselit could not be reached for comment Monday.

Pak is teaching two classes this semester that are cross-listed under the East Asian Studies and Art History departments: the undergraduate course “Foreign Influences on Korean Art” and the Graduate School course “Text & Images in Korean Art.”

Her term as a visiting professor ends after this academic year.

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