In late November, a U-Haul truck carrying beer kegs ran into the crowd at the Harvard-Yale tailgate party, killing one person and injuring two. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the New Haven Police Department (NHPD).
The U-Haul driver, a Yale junior, passed a field sobriety test shortly after the accident and has not been charged, pending the investigation. He claims that the U-Haul accident was the result of a vehicle malfunction / auto defect. However, Connecticut U-Haul has called the claim premature. The Ford F-350 has been preserved for investigation.
If an auto defect caused the motor vehicle accident, the manufacturers of the vehicle and the defective auto part may be held liable. Other potential liable parties include the U-Haul rental company (if the rental was improper or the company rented the vehicle knowing it needed repair) and the driver.
Until the accident investigation is complete, everything is pure speculation. Other potential causes of the U-Haul accident include:
- The driver may have pushed both the gas pedal and brake pedal together by accident, which is possible on the particular model of U-Haul. There have been at least six complaints about pedal spacing and unpredictable acceleration in these U-Hauls.
- Drivers of U-Hauls are often inexperienced, which can lead to auto accidents.
- The U-Haul company may have improperly maintained the U-Haul.
Harvard and Yale are conducting review of the tailgate policies after this fatal accident. The Harvard-Yale tailgate is one of the largest social gatherings of the year for the colleges, and one of the largest drinking events.
Source: Yale News, "Legal Ramifications of Crash Still Unclear," James Lu, Daniel Sisgoreo, Nov. 28, 2011.
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