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Fraternity stands by Yale chapter sued in 2011 tailgate death

Nancy Barry (left) was struck by a UHaul truck carrying kegs of beer.

Nancy Barry (left) was struck by a UHaul truck carrying kegs of beer.

The national leadership of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity says it is providing legal assistance to its Yale University chapter, which is being sued by the estate of a Salem woman killed in 2011 when a rental truck driven by a fraternity member plowed into tailgaters at a Harvard-Yale football game.

The estate of Nancy Barry is also suing 86 current and former members of the fraternity.

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Barry was fatally injured when Brendan Ross, driving a U-Haul truck carrying kegs of beer, accelerated across a large intramural field and crashed into Barry, two other people, and two parked cars.

Paul Edwards, attorney for Barry’s estate, told the Globe Wednesday that the national leadership was “basically disowning’’ current and past members of its Yale chapter.

But the fraternity’s chief executive, Brian Warren, said Thursday that his organization supports the Yale chapter.

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“I traveled to New Haven the day of the accident to ensure members of our Yale chapter were receiving the support and assistance they needed,’’ he said. “Since the incident occurred, we have diligently worked to support the members of our Yale chapter.”

Ross was initially charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, but received probation after the charges were reduced to reckless driving. Prosecutors said he lost control of the truck after revving the engine in an effort to disperse the crowd.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.
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