A Yale student driving a U-Haul struck and killed a 30-year-old woman at the Harvard-Yale Game tailgate on Saturday.
The collision—an incident that the driver’s lawyer is calling a probable vehicle malfunction—killed Nancy Barry, a resident of Salem, Mass., and injured two other tailgate attendees, Yale School of Management student Sarah Short and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach.
Short remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition, while Dernbach has been treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Brendan Ross, a junior at Yale, was driving the truck that was transporting beer kegs to a fraternity’s tailgate party.
According to a statement from the New Haven Police Department, Ross passed a field sobriety test. He was taken into custody after the accident but according to his attorney William F. Dow III, he was released on Saturday night and has not been charged with any crime.
Speaking on behalf of Ross and his family, Dow read a statement saying, “We extend our sincere condolences to the family of Nancy Barry for this tragic accident which appears to be the result of a vehicle malfunction.”
The New Haven Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction team is examining the truck to investigate why the driver lost control of the vehicle. The U-Haul was impounded by the police, according to the statement.
The crash occurred at 9:39 a.m. as a small crowd jostled in line to get proof-of-age wristbands and enter the tailgate.
Over the course of the morning—traditionally a time of drinking, barbecuing, and merrymaking leading up to the noon kickoff—a stream of U-Haul trucks transporting tailgate supplies drove just to the right of the crowd in order to enter Lot D, the largest parking facility at the Yale Bowl.
At times, pedestrians waiting in line to enter the tailgate were compelled to scurry out of the trucks’ path.
But as Ross’ U-Haul truck entered the lot, it turned left and accelerated quickly, according to eyewitnesses.
It struck three women on the outskirts of the crowd before hitting another U-Haul truck, which in turn hit a third.
Eyewitnesses said the truck did not slow when it struck the three victims and only stopped upon crashing into the other vehicles a few seconds later.
Ryan A. Hanley ’12 said he was standing nearby and looked over when he heard a vehicle accelerating and people screaming. After the accident, he saw several women lying motionless on the ground.
“I wanted to stay, hoping they were going to get up,” Hanley said. “I was still kind of shocked, and after that, I kind of lost it.”
Quad Shuttle Involved in Accident
Tailgate Review Begun at YaleWhile Yale administrators have launched a review of the school’s tailgate policies after a U-Haul truck struck and killed a 30-year-old woman at this year’s Harvard-Yale tailgate, Harvard administrators say they have made no decision to conduct a special review following the accident.
Yale Student Charged in Tailgate Death Receives ProbationYale student Brendan Ross, the driver of a U-Haul truck that killed one woman and injured two others at the 2011 Harvard-Yale Game tailgate, was granted a form of probation Friday that allows him to avoid a criminal record.
Harvard-Yale Life Hacks
Dos and Don'tsThe Harvard-Yale Game, which dates back to 1875, is one of the oldest and most notable rivalries in the history of college sports. It is also one of the most highly anticipated events of the college year for students from both schools. Regardless of whether or not you’re a sports fan, the weekend of The Game is a weekend for memories. These memories will not be created in a cubicle of Lamont or in the silence of Widener—you will likely be alone and crying in these places if you choose to stay behind. Throw on your Crimson gear, get yourself down to New Haven, and keep these do’s and don’t’s in mind as you prepare and proceed for a legendary weekend.
Pre-Game ResponsiblyWe consider Yale’s decision a sensible reaction to an accident that exposed the shortcomings of its tailgating policies and the resulting responsibility gap.