The rented U-Haul carrying beer kegs that fatally struck and killed a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman tailgater at the annual Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday malfunctioned as a Yale undergraduate drove the vehicle into a crowded Yale tailgating area of a parking lot, the undergraduate's attorney said on Sunday.
The Associated Press reported that William Dow, representing undergraduate Yale student Brendan Ross, said Saturday's collision was a tragic accident that appears to be the result of a vehicle malfunction. He did not elaborate about what the malfunction was and said Ross would not be speaking publicly about what accident.
The truck that Ross was driving struck 30-year-old Nancy Barry of Salem, Mass., who was pronounced dead at about 10:15 a.m. at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Barry suffered fatal injuries at the scene near the Yale Bowl. Sarah Short, 31, a Yale School of Management student from New Haven, remained hospitalized Sunday in critical but stable condition with leg injuries. Elizabeth Dernbach, 23, a Harvard employee originally from Naples, Fla., was treated for minor injuries Saturday and released.
Ross passed a field sobriety test after the collision Saturday and Connecticut police said he has been cooperating in the investigation, which remained open Sunday. The AP reports that no charges had been filed.
Connecticut police say Ross was driving the rented U-Haul through a popular tailgating area on the lot before the game when witnesses saw the vehicle turn a corner and speed up, striking Barry and injuring Short and Dernbac. The truck then crashed into other U-Haul vans on the lot.
The Yale Daily News reported Sunday that the U-Haul was heading to a tailgate party for Sigma Phi Epsilon, the fraternity of which Ross is a member and where police listed his address.
The AP reports that a spokesman for the Yale chapter referred questions to the national Sigma Phi Epsilon headquarters, which was sending a representative to Yale over the weekend. A statement from the Richmond, Va.-based fraternity Sunday said it was deeply saddened by the tragic accident, and referred questions to New Haven police.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families, the statement read. The fraternity is currently working with law enforcement officials as they investigate the details of exactly what happened.
Harvard also issued a statement expressing its sympathy for those involved.
New Haven police told the AP that their investigation will include a forensic review of the rented U-Haul truck, a review of witness statements and other work before they can determine whether anyone should face charges. The truck was impounded as part of the investigation.
Yale and Harvard, longtime Ivy League rivals, play each other annually and fans gathered Saturday for the two teams' 128th meeting since 1875, which Harvard won 45-7 for its fifth straight victory over Yale. Six years ago, Yale began shutting down all parties after halftime in an effort to curb binge drinking and keep students and alumni safe. However, because tailgating is as much a staple at Yale as the rivalry with Harvard, the tailgating that took place Saturday continued in the lot three hours after the incident, according to AP. Some students even danced on top of other rental trucks.
Saturday, the university said its Dean's Office and Yale Athletics plan to undertake a full review of policies and regulations on tailgating.
The Yale community is deeply saddened by the tragic vehicle accident that occurred at a Yale Bowl parking lot this morning, the school said in statement. Yale extends our sympathies and prayers to the family of the woman who was killed and hopes for the speedy recovery of the two women hurt. Our thoughts are also with those who witnessed or were affected by this tragic accident.