Yale Student From Missouri Reportedly Drove Truck Into Tailgating Crowd at Football Game

By November 24, 2011 July 18th, 2019 Trucking Accidents

As a St. Louis tractor-trailer accident lawyer, I was disappointed to read that a Missourian was involved in a high-profile truck crash that killed one at the Yale-Harvard football game. The New York Times reported Nov. 19 that Brendan Ross, a Yale student from O’Fallon, was driving a U-Haul truck that plowed into a crowd of people tailgating before the game. The crash killed 30-year-old Nancy Berry of Salem, Mass. and injured two other women. Ross was driving a truck full of beer kegs to the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity party, but police say he took a breath test and did not appear to be intoxicated at the time. Ross is not charged with a crime, and his attorney suggested that the crash could have been caused by a vehicle malfunction.
A student told the Times that Ross had stopped the truck at a checkpoint to determine who was of legal drinking age. Beyond the checkpoint was an open field full of U-Haul trucks parked in a way that allowed tailgaters to treat them as small rooms. As the truck started to pull away, witnesses said it accelerated and the driver lost control, hitting three people before crashing into another truck and stopping. In addition to Berry, the injured victims were Yale graduate student Sarah Short and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach. Witnesses said Ross looked shocked and dazed when he climbed out of the truck. Yale announced after the crash that it would review its tailgating policies; Harvard declined to allow U-Haul tailgating when it hosted the game in 2010. Attorneys told the Litchfield County Times that Yale and the City of New Haven may both be held liable for insufficient security.
As a southern Illinois semi truck accident attorney, I would be interested to know what the results of the police investigation are. If Ross truly did pass a blood-alcohol test, the most obvious cause of the accident can be dismissed. There actually is some evidence that U-Haul trucks can malfunction. A series in the Los Angeles Times a few years ago looked at litigation against U-Haul and found evidence that it rented aging trucks with major mechanical problems or unattended maintenance, which sometimes resulted in fatal accidents. To make matters worse, the series found a pattern at the company of spoiling evidence against it in lawsuits. This isn’t to say that some other factor, including panic and inexperience by the driver, couldn’t be responsible for the crash. But I hope the New Haven police take the mechanical malfunction allegation seriously.
When trucks crash into smaller vehicles, they can do massive damage that wouldn’t be possible in a crash between two cars. That’s why Carey, Danis & Lowe focuses its practice on representing clients who were seriously hurt by a negligent trucker or trucking company. These are among the most serious accidents because they often cause catastrophic, permanent disabilities or death for their victims. In an instant, families can lose a loved one and often also a breadwinner, leaving them scrambling to make ends meet as high medical bills roll in. Our Missouri 18-wheeler accident lawyers help victims like these claim financial compensation from the people who harmed them — the negligent trucker or the trucking company that sent an unsafe vehicle or driver out on the road.


If your family has been seriously hurt by a trucking accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, don’t wait to call Carey, Danis & Lowe for help. For a free, confidential consultation, send us an email or call 1-877-678-3400.
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