Mass. Woman Killed While Tailgating At Harvard-Yale Game
NEW HAVEN, CT (CBS/AP) – A Massachusetts woman was killed while tailgating outside the Yale-Harvard football game on Saturday in New Haven, Connecticut.
Police say a U-Haul truck driven by a young man pulled into a large lot that services the Yale Bowl.
The truck passed security without any issues, but as the driver turned toward the parking area, the truck accelerated and plowed into three women before eventually crashing into another U-Haul truck.
The 30-year-old Massachusetts woman was rushed to the hospital where she died.
Another 30-year-old woman, who is from New Haven, and, according to Yale, is a student at its School of Management, was also taken to the hospital and was listed in serious but stable condition.
A third woman who was struck suffered minor injuries.
Tim Walker of Pawtucket, R.I., said he was grilling sirloin tips when he heard the crash behind him. He turned and saw two people lying on the ground.
People huddled around them trying to help, according to a video that appears to have been recorded shortly after the accident and posted online. “We’re not getting a pulse,” said someone crouched near one victim, while the cameraman notes the ambulance hasn’t arrived.
After emergency officials arrived, Walker said, he saw one victim being given CPR as she was taken away.
“The driver looked shocked. Absolutely shocked,” Walker said. Police have not said whether alcohol was a factor.
“He didn’t look intoxicated or anything like that,” Walker added. “He had a dazed look like he had just hit someone.”
New Haven police spokesperson Officer David Hartman told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that officers have taken the U-Haul driver into custody and were interviewing him.
“Has not yet been charged, and there’s a possibility, obviously, that he wouldn’t be if the accident is determined to have been caused by something other than his error,” Hartman said.
Hartman noted that on game days, the parking lots in the area very organized and there are a significant number of attendants, security guards, and police officers all working to keep the events safe.
He called the crash a “tragic, tragic event.”
At the annual Yale-Harvard game, tailgating is nearly as storied as the competition itself. Elaborate buffets dot the parking lots, and fans frequently fill such U-Haul trucks with kegs, grills and hard alcohol.
Six years ago, Yale began shutting down all parties after halftime in an effort to curb binge drinking and keep students and alumni safe. 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,” the statement said. “Our thoughts are also with those who witnessed or were affected by this tragic accident.”
The fans had gathered for the 128th game of the Ivy League rivalry, which Harvard won 45-7 for its fifth straight victory over Yale.
Three hours after the accident, the loud tailgating continued in the lot, with music blaring from large speakers and fans grilling hot dogs, sausage and hamburgers. Some students danced on top of other rental trucks.
The accident scene was cordoned off by yellow police tape, and a dozen numbered evidence placards were on the ground. The three rental trucks involved in the accident were still at the scene, stacked one against another from the collision.
At halftime of the game, the public address announcer at Yale Bowl informed the crowd of the accident and the woman’s death, noting that it had been confirmed by the New Haven Police. He asked spectators to stand and observe a moment of silence.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)