NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A driver of a U-Haul truck carrying beer kegs through a tailgating area before the Yale-Harvard football game Saturday suddenly accelerated, fatally striking a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman and injuring two other women, police said.
It’s not clear why the driver sped up, New Haven police spokesman David Hartman said. The truck then crashed into other U-Haul vans in the lot, an open playing field used for pre-game tailgating parties before Yale home games in New Haven.
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.
“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.”
Hartman said the driver was in police custody.
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.
At halftime of the game, the public address announcer at Yale Bowl informed the crowd of the accident and the woman’s death. He asked spectators to stand and observe a moment of silence.