University students riot after women’s team victory

Teenager hit by car, seriously injured

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

A teenage woman sustained life-threatening injuries when she was hit by a vehicle traveling near Knox Road in College Park Tuesday night, shortly after students began rioting when the University of Maryland women’s basketball team beat Duke University in overtime to win the NCAA Championship game.

The woman was injured in an apparent hit-and-run near the intersection of Knox Road and Route 1 at around 11:15 p.m., said Prince George’s County Fire Department spokesman Mark Brady. Brady said the unidentified woman was in critical but stable condition Wednesday at a local trauma center.

College Park City Councilman David Milligan (Dist. 1), one of several municipal officials who watched the post-game reaction after the council’s weekly meeting, said the ambulance struggled to wind its way through the crowds.

‘‘There comes a point ... where it’s time to move out of the street and find somewhere else to celebrate,” he said. ‘‘People can get hurt.”

The woman was hit as hundreds of university students started to riot in downtown College Park. Although Tuesday’s riot did not cause the property damage of the 2002 riots when the men’s team won the title, a university shuttle bus was nearly tipped over, several small fires were set along Route 1, and police used pepper spray to disperse rowdy crowds, said Prince George’s County police spokesman Cpl. Clinton Copeland.

‘‘They made a number of announcements for the students to move along,” Copeland said. ‘‘They warned them ahead of time about what will happen if they don’t disperse.”

When unruly rioters attempted to tip over one of the university’s shuttle buses with passengers inside, police stopped the attack, Copeland said.

About 50 police officers from the county, state and university worked to break up the rioting, which continued until after midnight.

Many students taunted law enforcement with chants, and at least a few students said police used rubber bullets, according to various media reports.

Copeland said he did not know whether police employed rubber bullets.

Milligan said most students came out to Route 1 to celebrate, not riot.

‘‘Ninety percent of the students were just out there being exuberant and having a good time,” Milligan said. ‘‘There were a lot of responsible kids there trying to keep things under control.”

With the recent media attention given to the women’s basketball squad and the exciting overtime finish, Milligan said he was not surprised by the students’ reaction.

‘‘After all, it was Duke,” he said.

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