Police helicopter sends debris flying, tailgaters scrambling prior to football game

Posted at 1:59 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-01 15:59:56-04

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    State College, PA (WPMT) — A low-flying police helicopter created a disturbance in a parking area outside Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon, scattering revelers who were tailgating before the Nittany Lions’ prime-time game with Ohio State and sending tents, grills and other debris flying through the lot.

According to, the helicopter was seen flying as low as 30 feet from the ground over Section 23 of the Yellow Lot, located near Orchard Road and Park Avenue on the campus.

The incident happened around 4 p.m., Onward State reports. The tailgaters scattered were seniors and members of the Penn State Greek community.

One witness, who claimed to be in the area when the helicopter arrived, told OnwardState that his car was scratched by flying debris and a female guest was cut on the face.

The witness told OnwardState he planned to file a police report this week.

Barstool Penn State tweeted video of the incident.

The Penn State University Police Department issued a statement Monday. It reads:

We understand concerns have been raised regarding police activity during tailgate celebrations in one lot, in advance of the Penn State vs. Ohio State game on Saturday (Sept. 29). University Police wishes to reassure fans that officers were responding to the circumstances on the ground, which involved numerous law violations, including serious threats to officer safety within a disorderly crowd. Unruly individuals refused to disperse following verbal commands and at least one officer suffered injuries. It is rare to resort to these expanded interventions; however, when all other warnings from the mounted police unit and officers on the ground were ignored, a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter was deployed as another tool to compel the group to disperse and curb dangerous and unruly behavior. Following the use of the helicopter, the dangerous behaviors dissipated.

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