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Zombie game stopped after player gets hit by car

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | APRIL 14, 2011 7:20 AM

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The RiverFest-hosted game of “Humans vs. Zombies” came to a halt Tuesday after one of the players collided with a car.

Details on the Iowa City police’s daily activity log indicate a pedestrian collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Clinton and Jefferson Streets around 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, prompting a medical assistance call to police.

Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said she had no further information on the incident, because there was no report and the patrol supervisor who was on duty during the call was not in.

“If someone was majorly hurt, I would assume the evening watch would have put something out or told me about it,” Brotherton said. “And no one has said anything.”

The incident remains under investigation by Iowa City police.

UI spokesman Tom Moore could not confirm whether the person struck was a UI student, nor could he provide any further information about her or his condition. Most players appear to be college age.

A modified game of tag, “Humans vs. Zombies” typically entails a “zombie” group and human group, differentiated by bandanas. “Zombies” wear a bandana on their heads and try to tag humans, who wear a bandana on their arms. Humans can then defend themselves against “zombies” with socks.

According to representatives, RiverFest advisers canceled the game following the incident. Several students expressed frustration about the cancellation on the group’s webpage.

A Facebook post on the RiverFest website delivered the initial message to students involved.

“Due to an unfortunate incident today, Humans vs. Zombies will be discontinued for the week,” the post said.

RiverFest marketing director Jordan Halkerston confirmed the cancellation, but said she did not have specific details regarding the incident.

“We were just told by advisers that that’s what we decided to do for that event,” Halkerston said.

Moore said any further information should come from the police, and he noted that RiverFest decided to cancel the event.

RiverFest advisers could not be reached forcomment.

“I am extremely disappointed,” UI senior Mark Gorski wrote in an e-mail. “I had been looking forward to this for weeks, because this is my last semester at U of I. The university is treating us like children.”

Gorski pointed out that the game is played nationwide and said the “399 of us who played responsibly” shouldn’t have been punished for one player’s “stupid mistake.”

“All we got is a sad apology and no concrete reason why the game was stopped,” the 22-year-old said.

On the game’s Facebook page, players discussed the incident.

“It’s a good reason to shut the game down,” one player wrote on the wall. “Just too bad we won’t be able to do it every year now.”

And Gorski suggested the possibility of starting up a new, separate game.

“Who’s up for continuing to play through the end of the week?” Gorski posted. “We can just play the honor system.”

Regardless of whether they will continue to play, Gorski said, he wishes it had been handled differently.

“It is a shame that our university cannot be supportive of us.”


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