Working part time at Maho Bay Campground with her sister and enjoying St. John Festival, a 21-year-old Massachusetts woman was hoping for the summer of her life this year.
Instead, Sarah Dargon’s life ended in tragedy on Tuesday, July 5, at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Dargon died at the Miami-area hospital after succumbing to injuries she suffered falling out of a moving safari taxi on St. John on Sunday night, July 3.
The Massachusetts woman was traveling with her 18-year-old sister from Cruz Bay to Maho Bay Campground when she fell from the back of the taxi on the straight-away near Maho Bay beach around 8:30 p.m. on July 3, according to information from the V.I. Police Department.
Both women were in the back of the taxi — which was not the Maho Bay Campground shuttle — sitting next to each other with Dargon closer to the loading stairs. Dargon’s sister looked down and began texting on her cellular phone and when she looked back up, Dargon was not in the taxi, according to VIPD officials.
The woman notified the driver, who turned around and discovered Dargon lying on her back on North Shore Road on the straight-away at Maho Bay beach, according to information from VIPD.
“She had injuries to the back of her head and abrasions on her body,” according to the VIPD. “The sister told police the vehicle was traveling at about 20 mph. Police investigation also determined that both sisters had been drinking and were intoxicated at the time of the accident.”
A good samaritan passing by and another taxi driver both stopped to help, according to officials.
With no cell phone reception in the area, the taxi driver was able to use his CB to report the incident.
Dargon was taken to Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center that night and was quickly transferred to R.L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas.
The Massachusetts woman was then airlifted to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. Her death was confirmed by the Miami Dade coroner’s office on July 5.
Last week Dargon’s coworkers at Maho Bay Campground, where she worked for almost a month, were still grappling with her death.
“We are all very affected by the situation,” said Scott Drennan, Maho Bay Camp manager. “It’s hard when you lose part of the Maho Bay family, regardless of how long you’ve been part of the family.”
Although Dargon had only been working at Maho Bay Campground for three weeks, the crew at the popular campground — who live and work together — bond quickly, Drennan added.
“When you live and work with people, you get a lot closer in a short amount of time than when you leave your coworkers and go home,” said Drennan.
Residents in Dargon’s hometown of Norwell, MA, were also reeling from the news last week. Dargon was described as a caring young woman dedicated to helping others in a report in The Patriot Ledger.
“Dargon cared strongly about children, according to her family, and had volunteered for early education programs and schools, including Norwell’s Grace F. Cole Elementary School,” according to the report in The Patriot Ledger. “She had been studying at the Vanderbilt Peabody College of Education and Human Development in Nashville, where she would have been a senior this fall.”
The report cites several instances of Dargon’s volunteer efforts working with underprivileged children in Nashville, and volunteering with Manna Project International and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Dargon’s family has asked that memorial contributions be made in her honor to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, according to The Patriot Ledger.
This is the first time since 2007, when an employee died following a traffic accident on the East End, that tragedy has hit the Maho Bay Campground family.
Dargon’s case will be followed up by VIPD’s Traffic Investigation Bureau. Anyone with any information should contact VIPD officers at 714-9816 or 715-5514 or call Crime Stoppers USVI at 1-800-222-TIPS.