February 1st, 2013 | University

Ross ’13 receives special probation, no criminal record

Fourteen months after a fatal U-Haul crash at the 2011 Yale-Harvard tailgate, Brendan Ross ’13 has entered a probationary program that will allow him to maintain a clean record.

At a Friday morning hearing in New Haven Superior Court, Ross was granted accelerated rehabilitation. The program offers first-time offenders a path to a clean record upon successful completion of probation. Under the plea deal, his charges have been revised to reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

Ross, who was driving the U-Haul involved in the crash that led to the death of a woman, pleaded guilty to two infractions of traveling unreasonably fast and unsafe starting. He will have to complete a total of 400 hours of community service.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and reckless driving last September, but those charges had disqualified him from entering the probationary program.

“Brendan Ross is an outstanding young man who was involved in a tragic accident,” Ross’ attorney William Dow ’63 said in a statement. “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.”

The U-Haul driven by Ross swerved into the Yale Bowl’s D-Lot before the Yale-Harvard football game on Nov. 19, 2011, killing 30-year-old Nancy Barry from Salem, Mass., and injuring Sarah Short SOM ’13 and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach.

Ross, who passed a field sobriety test at the scene of the accident, turned himself in for arrest in May 2012 after the New Haven Police Department completed its forensics investigation in early April and secured a warrant for his arrest. He was released with a written agreement to return to court.

In response to last year’s crash, Yale tightened its tailgating regulations, banning beer kegs and U-Hauls and containing tailgates to a “student tailgate village” zone that would be set up before 8:30 a.m. and close at the start of the game.