Woman critically injured, six others hurt in DSU homecoming crash

DOVER — A woman was critically injured and six others injured when a car crashed into a crowd of people gathered on the Delaware State University campus Saturday evening, according to Dover Police.

The remaining homecoming activities planned for the evening were canceled, police said in a Sunday morning news release.

Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Dover Police public information officer, said the incident occurred at approximately 7:28 p.m., when Gregory Ligon, 28, of Mitchellville, Maryland, was driving a Mercedes Benz sedan in the area of the fraternity picnic area. Police said Mr. Ligon attempted to park his vehicle in the area and exited it once he did so, forgetting the vehicle was still in reverse.

According to police, Mr. Ligon returned to the driver’s seat to stop the vehicle, but allegedly pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake. The vehicle accelerated over a curb and across a grassy area full of people. Police said the driver side door was open.

Police said the vehicle struck seven people. The most serious of the injuries occurred when the driver door hit a 21-year-old female and pinned her against a tree. This victim was later flown to Christiana Hospital with major injuries.

Police said the vehicle then continued as the driver door broke off, until it struck another tree and came to a stop. At that time Mr. Ligon was removed from the vehicle by several bystanders.

Police said Mr. Ligon was found to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash and will be charged with the following crimes:
first-degree vehicular assault, six charges of second-degree vehicular assault, DU, and no proof of insurance. Bond information was not available Sunday.

Injured were:

• A 21-year-old woman from Wilmington, in critical condition at Christiana Hospital with a broken back and ribs, and multiple internal injuries;

• A 51-year-old man from Philadelphia, treated for shoulder and leg injuries by Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital, as were the remaining victims;

• A 20-year-old woman from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, treated for a foot injury;

• A 21-year-old woman from Wilmington, treated  for hand injury;

• A 21-year-old man from Dover, treated for a leg injury;

• A 21-year-old woman from Upper Marbloro, Maryland, treated for foot injury;

• A 22-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, treated for a foot injury.

Dover police said on Sunday the investigation was continuing and was being led by the Dover Police Department with assistance from Delaware State University Police.

In a statement released Sunday, DSU said campus police and security officers were on duty and patrolling campus throughout the entire Homecoming weekend, including the area where the accident took place.

The activities that were taking place were not in connection with any University-sponsored or organized event, according to DSU. Those gathered in this area — which traditionally happens at DSU’s annual Homecoming — were a mix of students, alumni and other visitors, the school’s statement said.

“It was an unfortunate accident that took place on Saturday evening, and our thoughts and prayers are with the persons who were injured, especially the victim who suffered serious injuries in the incident,” DSU President Dr. Harry L. Williams said.

“Our primary priority continues to be the safety of our students, employees and visitors. Staff from Student Health Services stand ready to provide support to our students during this difficult time.”

While DSU said the incident appeared to be an accident based on preliminary investigation, it believed that intoxication may have been a contributing factor. The school said DSU is a dry campus that prohibits the use of alcohol on University property, with the exception of when special permission is given for non-student events. The school said no such special permission was given for any events taking place on campus Saturday.

DSU police monitor the campus for illegal alcohol consumption and immediately address any concerns when discovered, according to the statement.

A DSU spokesman said a regular class schedule was planned for today.

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