AMES, Iowa (AP) — A student is seriously injured after a rowdy crowd overturned cars and toppled light poles near the Iowa State University campus during an annual celebration designed to showcase the educational establishment, its students and alumni, authorities said Wednesday.
Ames Police Cmdr. Geoff Huff said the crowd that massed late Tuesday in the Campustown area of Ames pelted officers with rocks and beer cans. None of the officers required medical treatment, Huff told The Associated Press. The crowd overturned at least two cars and knocked down two light poles. They fell into a crowded intersection, Huff said, and one struck the man.
He estimated the crowd number at 1,000 people or more and said he knew of only two arrests on what he expected would be misdemeanor charges.
The Des Moines Register said a moving crowd blocked streets for more than an hour and that police and firefighters had to press through the throng to reach the injured student.
The crowd dispersed early Wednesday, police said. It was not clear what caused the Veishea celebration to get out of control. The Register said Veishea, which dates back decades, was marred by violence in 2004, resulting in dozens of arrests and tens of thousands of dollars in damage. The university canceled the celebration the following year.
The university's president, Steven Leath, lamented the students' behavior and said school officials would decide later Wednesday whether the week of Veishea celebrations would continue as planned.
"We are all distraught and disappointed over the events that have unfolded near campus overnight," Leath said in a statement posted early Wednesday on the university's website.
Leath said an Iowa State student had been seriously injured. He did not identify the student or provide details of the injuries. Police said the student was rushed to a local medical center and then airlifted to a Des Moines hospital. Huff said police didn't obtain the man's name before he was taken away.
Authorities said they were seeking tips from the public to help identify those responsible for the trouble.
Iowa State University said on its website that the campus in the U.S. Midwest has drawn more than 33,200 students from across the nation and from more than 100 countries, along with more than 6,300 faculty and staff.