A driver of a U-Haul truck carrying beer kegs through a Yale tailgating area before the Yale-Harvard football game Saturday suddenly accelerated and fatally struck a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman, killing her and injuring two other women, according to reports.
New Haven Police spokesman David Hartman said that it's still not clear why the driver sped up. What is known, however, is that the truck sped up, then crashed into other U-Haul vans in the lot, an open playing field used for pregame tailgating parties before Yale football home games, near Yale's football stadium, the Yale Bowl.
Tim Walker of Pawtucket, R.I., told the Associated Press that he was grilling sirloin tips when he heard the crash behind him. He turned and saw two people lying on the ground.
People then stood and kneeled around them trying to help, according to a video that was recorded shortly after the accident and posted on Youtube. Emergency officials arrived, Walker said, and then he saw one victim being given CPR as she was taken away.
The driver, however, was unharmed and couldn't believe what happened.
The driver looked shocked, absolutely shocked, Walker said. He didn't look intoxicated or anything like that. He had a dazed look like he had just hit someone.
Hartman said the driver was in police custody and that the woman who was killed was pronounced dead at about 10:15 a.m. at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Police did not immediately release the woman's identity.
Of the two women who weren't killed, Yale told the AP that one was a student at its School of Management and was listed in critical but stable condition at the hospital, while the other suffered minor injuries.
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 it planned to review its policies and regulations on tailgating before games.
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.
At halftime of Saturday's game, the public address announcer informed the crowd of the accident and noted that the woman's death had been confirmed by the New Haven Police. He asked spectators to stand and observe a moment of silence.