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April 6, 2013

Estate of Salem woman killed at Yale-Harvard game sues

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The estate of a Salem woman struck and killed by a rental truck in a tailgating area at a Yale-Harvard football game filed a lawsuit Friday against the driver, U-Haul company, Yale University, the city of New Haven and others.

The estate of Nancy Barry of Salem alleged in the New Haven Superior Court lawsuit that negligence on the part of the defendants contributed to Barry’s 2011 death.

Police say Ross was driving a rental truck carrying beer kegs through a popular tailgating area before the game when witnesses saw the vehicle turn a corner and speed up, striking Barry and two other women.

The driver, Brendan Ross, pleaded guilty to traveling too fast and unsafe starting. He received a special form of probation in February that will leave him with no criminal record.

Paul Edwards, attorney for Barry’s estate, said that while the city failed to ensure pedestrian safety, Yale allowed student organizations to rent large trucks for tailgating parties.

“I expect that even Yale will agree that it was foolish to permit and encourage the use of these U-Haul trucks for student tailgating parties,” Edwards said in a statement.

He also named as a defendant Ross’ fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, which he said rented the truck.

“Requiring Brendan Ross to try to maneuver this large truck through what was sure to be tight spaces in streets and chaotic parking lots overflowing with pedestrians, party-goers and other traffic simply was asking for trouble,” Edwards said.

Messages left with Ross’ attorney, William Dow III, were not immediately returned.

Dow has described Ross as “an outstanding young man who was involved in a tragic accident.” Dow said of his client in February, “He will emerge from this without a criminal record, but the memory of that tragedy remains. Brendan and his family have extended their condolences to Ms. Barry’s family when the accident occurred. Ms. Barry remains in their prayers.”

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