86 members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Yale chapter are now facing multiple charges for the 2011 Harvard-Yale tailgate accident
It was an accident. Sigma Phi Epsilon members from Yale University were riding a U-Haul truck, partying and drinking before the annual Yale-Harvard game begins.
Nearing the field, the truck accelerated uncontrollably and crashed into a group of people. One woman, thirty-year old Nancy Barry, died from the accident, while two were badly injured. They were Sarah Short, a Yale student, and Elizabeth Dernbach, a Harvard employee. Driving the truck was student Brendan Ross.
Now, 86 members of the fraternity are facing two lawsuits over the incident.
Families of Short and Barry are now filing lawsuits to all members of the Yale chapter, regardless of whether they were present at the incident. Joel Faxon, Short's lawyer, said that they expect the jury to award a seven figure sum to Short, whose medical bills exceeded $300,000. Meanwhile, lawyer Paul Edwards who represents Barry told the Yale Daily News that the family of the victim is looking forward to recovering millions of dollars for her death.
Interestingly, the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has denied any involvement in the case.
Kathy Johnston, the Director of Risk Management for Sigma Phi Epsilon, said that the local chapter and national association have nothing to do with each other. The fraternity’s insurance arm, Liberty Mutual of Boston, is also not covering the 86 members involved.
Members of the fraternity declined to comment on the report.