Yale Student Charged in Tailgate Death

UPDATED: May 6, 2012, at 7:45 p.m.

Yale junior Brendan D. Ross, the driver of the U-Haul truck that killed a woman and injured two others at the Harvard-Yale football game this fall, was arrested on Friday and charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and reckless driving, according to news reports.

At the tailgate preceding the Harvard-Yale Game, Ross’ rental truck hit three women, fatally injuring 30-year-old Nancy Barry of Salem, Mass. Another woman hit by the vehicle, Yale School of Management student Sarah Short, has filed a lawsuit against Ross and against U-Haul, alleging that her “severe painful and obvious injuries” may have been caused by Ross’ wrongdoing, for driving too quickly or failing to honk his horn, or may have been related to a mechanical problem with the truck.

Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach was also treated at a hospital for minor injuries following the collision.

Ross turned himself in to New Haven Police after finishing his last exam of the semester, according to the Associated Press. He was released on a promise to appear again in court of his own will.

According to the Yale Daily News, he is set to appear in court again on Monday.

Ross was reportedly driving kegs to his fraternity’s tailgate party when the accident occurred. He passed a sobriety test at the scene of the crash.

In November, Ross’s attorney William Dow said that the crash was a “tragic accident that appears to be the result of vehicle malfunction” in an interview with The Crimson. Dow could not be reached for comment regarding Ross’s arrest over the weekend.

Under Connecticut state law, the charge against Ross of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle is a misdemeanor. If convicted, Ross could face a a $2,500 fine and a maximum of six months in prison.

New Haven authorities could not be reached for comment.

In the aftermath of the crash, Yale has altered its tailgating policies. According to a statement from Yale in January, kegs will no longer be permitted at athletic events and functions, and oversized vehicles will be barred from the university lots unless driven by an authorized vendor. In addition, Yale will create a vehicle-free area for student tailgates. and tailgates will end at kickoff, after which point all students and guests must enter the stadium or leave the area.

Yale spokesperson Karen N. Peart declined to comment on Ross’ arrest further than to report that Ross “is enrolled” at Yale.

—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at juliadean@college.harvard.edu.

Tags