Damage, Debris Left After Wild Championship Celebration
After a dynamite 18th National Championship win for the Alabama Crimson Tide, revelers flooded The Strip near the UA campus to commemorate the victory with a raucous celebration. The streets were packed out from Buffalo Phil's to GloryBound Gyro Company as Tide fans danced, sang, drank and embraced in celebration.
The Tuscaloosa Police Department and UAPD were both on the scene to monitor more than a thousand drunken partiers that were squished into about two blocks of University Boulevard. After about an hour of letting the party go on, though, officers were eager to start seeing the streets cleared.
Officers slowly drove police SUVs through the crowds, parting those gathered in an attempt to force them to disperse. Celebrants were not happy about the disruption, though, as several of them belligerently cursed at oncoming officers, threw drinks on and into their vehicles, waved profane hand gestures in their faces and resumed partying once the cruisers had passed.
It wasn't until a batch of fireworks started going off a few blocks away that the crowd began to disperse. The impromptu block party soon turned into a frenzy, as many drunk students might have mistaken the fireworks for gunshots. The streets began to clear out, and officers waved people along.
However, a new disturbance arose when particles of what felt like pepper spray wafted through the Strip. A few students were seen coughing and covering their mouths in pain near the CVS Pharmacy and Quick Grill. It is unclear whether the mist was from an officer's Mace, or if someone had deployed their own self-defense pepper spray. Some partiers on Twitter were quick to assume the substance was tear gas, but there is no official indication officers from any local law enforcement agency deployed such tactics.
Officers continued to usher fans out of the streets, and most of them retreated back into the bars from where they originated. The Strip was left a mess, with bottles, cups and cans littering the streets. The Quick Grill awning was ripped down by partiers climbing it and jumping on it like a trampoline. Trees were left without branches as revelers climbed them and shook their limbs into the crowd, Tuscaloosa City trash bins were removed from their iron placeholders and thrown into the streets, and several business signs saw minor damage after people who climbed onto them as well.
As of midnight Tuesday, some on the Strip were still being shooed home or back into bars. A handful of revelers were taken to DCH Regional Medical Center in police cars, presumably for assumed injuries sustained during the celebrations. It is unclear whether any arrests have been made in the wake of the celebration.
The Tuscaloosa Thread will update this story as more information becomes available.
Top Stories From The Tuscaloosa Thread (1/04 - 1/08)