Student still healing from attack on UM-State gameday

Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 7:10pm

On the afternoon of the University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University football game, a University student was attacked and beaten outside of East Quad Residence Hall, on the corner of Church and Hill Streets — next to the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority house. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, sustained serious injuries including a concussion and a broken nose after the attack, but has since returned to school.

The student’s father, who also asked to remain anonymous while the incident is under investigation, said his son was standing with a group of friends outside East Quad that afternoon. Earlier in the day, a group of men had allegedly harassed a certain member of his son’s group who did not attend the University. The men returned later and a physical altercation broke out between the two groups. According to the father, one of the attackers blindsided his son and the fight became focused on him.

After the attackers left, Nursing student Danny Vachon saw the injured student on the ground bleeding profusely from his nose. He said the student's friend was wearing a New England Patriots jersey and the father said the fight broke out over a sports argument. Vachon said the injured student and his friends were clearly intoxicated and he had to hold the student’s head up so he didn’t choke on his own blood. A bystander attempted to call 911 for the student but, as they didn’t know enough about his condition, Vachon called the Ann Arbor Police Department and was eventually referred to the University Division of Public Safety and Security.

DPSS spokeswomen Diane Brown could not comment on the case but confirmed the details of the incident.

The father, referencing the large crowds typical of a football game day, thinks there may be evidence of the assault on a bystanders’ phone. Existence of a video of the fight is unknown, but he believes there is a high probability someone has some sort of documentation on their phone. He is offering a $10,000 reward on a University of Michigan Parents Facebook group for anyone with concrete evidence as to who attacked his son.

“The first thing is, (my son) gets attacked by these animals, when it’s six-on-one or eight-on-one, even the biggest player on the football team is not going to be able to survive, but what’s just as frustrating is there’s cell phone video out there because there were people all over the place,” the father said. “(DPSS) has not been able to get any sort of video from the circumstance itself whether it was from the buildings or whether it was from bystanders and my opinion is nobody wants to step forward because nobody wants to be a rat.”

If it weren’t for Vachon, according to the father, the victim could have died by choking on his blood. Vachon said, as a nursing student with medical knowledge and background, he felt as though it was his duty to put his education to work and help.

“If it seems as though someone could be severely injured, if it looks like the average person’s help or knowledge wouldn’t really be something that would be valuable to that situation … it’s where actual medical knowledge and treatment would be probably necessitated is the point where I would feel like I would have to step in,” Vachon said. “A normal fight, I probably would have kept walking but something like this, I kind of felt the need to … step in and help.”

AAPD took the initial report and has since shared the investigation with DPSS.

Vachon said he was glad he didn’t walk past the victim, assuming him to be simply intoxicated.

“If this would have been a situation where, let’s say, I didn’t see him get into the fight and there’s just someone lying on the ground, sometimes you have that passing thought of, ‘Oh it’s just some drunk person that fell asleep and they’re on the ground and OK,” Vachon said. “If no one had been around to see this happen and if he had lied there for an hour or two, he probably would have died. … I’m just happy that I was there, that I was able to help him and I’m happy he’s OK right now.”