Moving Truck Strikes 3 during Harvard-Yale Tailgate, Killing 1

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Monday, November 28, 2011

A tailgate party before the annual Harvard-Yale football game turned tragic on Nov. 19, when a moving truck allegedly driven by a Yale student from the St. Louis suburbs suddenly sped up and struck three people. One of the victims died of injuries sustained in the accident. The incident illustrates the potential hazards of tailgating, especially when large vehicles are involved.

Tailgating is the term for football fans gathering in parking lots and fields surrounding the football stadium before the game to eat barbeque, drink alcohol and socialize with fellow fans. It has long been a tradition for many college football fans, and it has been a fixture at the Harvard-Yale games. The longtime rivals played at Yale’s stadium in Connecticut Nov. 19. One of the tailgate spots was a nearby field. As part of the festivities, several tailgaters rented U-Haul trucks and drove them to the field for use as small “party rooms.”

According to police, a truck driven by a Yale student approached the lot a little before 10 a.m. and stopped at a security checkpoint, where officers checked the truck’s occupant’s IDs and handed out bracelets to indicate who was old enough to drink. As the truck pulled away, it sped up suddenly and collided with three nearby people.

One of the three, a 30-year-old woman, was killed. The other two victims were taken to the hospital. One was listed in serious but stable condition, and the other sustained minor injuries.

Witnesses identified the driver as a Yale student from O’Fallon, Missouri. He is a member of the school’s Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter. Other members of the fraternity said the man had not been drinking before the accident.

At last year’s Harvard-Yale game, Harvard officials banned moving trucks from tailgating sites. The day after the accident, Yale said in a statement that its officials would review its tailgating rules.

Source: The New York Times, “One Dies in Truck Crash at Yale Tailgate Party,” Thomas Kaplan and Elizabeth A. Harris, Nov. 19, 2011

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