Yale 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.
The program, known as accelerated rehabilitation, allows charges against first-time offenders to be dismissed if they complete probation without incident. During his probation, Ross must complete 400 hours of community service.
The court's decision was the result of an agreement struck between all groups involved in the trial.
“It was a result of cooperation and collaboration of all interested parties," said Ross’s attorney William F. Dow III.
This past April, Sarah Short, one of the women injured in the crash and a student at the Yale School of Management, filed a suit in the New Haven Superior Court against Ross and U-Haul for at least $15,000 worth of damages caused by the incident.
In May, Ross was initially arrested and charged with reckless driving and negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor charge carrying a possible punishment of up to six months in jail. He turned himself in to New Haven police after finishing his last exam of the spring semester of his junior year.
But the prosecution agreed to lower the charges against Ross to reckless driving and reckless endangerment, making him eligible for the accelerated rehabilitation program.
Dow said that throughout the legal process, he was impressed by both Ross’s integrity and the understanding of the family of Nancy Barry, the 30-year-old Salem, Mass., resident who was killed in the accident.
“It’s one of those things where the level of decency of the defendant is matched by the forgiveness and decency of the family. There was complete synchronization of values. It’s just so refreshing to see that,” Dow said.
On Nov. 19, 2011, Ross was driving a U-Haul carrying beer kegs to his fraternity’s tailgate party when the accident occurred. Witnesses said at the time that the truck unexpectedly sped up as it turned into a pedestrian-heavy area of the tailgate. The crash killed Barry and injured Short and one other woman.
Ross tested clean in a sobriety test issued immediately following the accident. Even so, Yale has since tightened its restrictions on drinking before the annual Game, requiring that tailgates shut down by kickoff and banning U-Hauls and kegs from the student section of the tailgate.
—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Harvard-Yale Game, U-Haul Kills One, Injures Two
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.
First H-Y Game in New Haven Since 2011 Accident To Feature Stricter Tailgating RulesWith kegs banned, U-Haul access restricted, and student tailgates housed on tennis courts, tailgating before this year’s Harvard-Yale football game in New Haven may look much as it does in Cambridge.
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.