Saturday’s Backyard Brawl between WVU and Pitt brought in the largest crowd seen at Milan Puskar Stadium since 2019 with the in-game attendance reaching over 61,000. With that size crowd, good weather and ample time for pre-game parking lot festivities, local emergency response agencies were kept on their toes.
According to Monongalia County Emergency Management Center (MECCA) Director Jimmy Smith, on Saturday during the six-hour span from 6 p.m. to midnight, the 911 call center fielded 249 calls from the area around the stadium. That is 41.5 calls per hour or more than three calls every five minutes. The game began at 7:30 p.m. and ended at approximately 11 p.m.
Of those calls, Smith said 29 were alcohol-related, six were reports of fights and a few dozen were related to falls or other “general medical calls.”
There were also two fireworks complaints made to MECCA during that time, he said.
Forest Weyen, Mon EMS executive director said that agency responded to 77 requests for service on gameday, both in the parking lots and the stadium. He said based on previous gameday data they had estimated seeing over 70 patients on Saturday.
In total, Weyen said nine patients were transported to local emergency departments by Mon EMS.
Approximately 20 people were seen at the collaborative care center inside the indoor practice facility. The additional care facility was a joint effort between Mon EMS, the Mon County Health Department, WVU Medicine and Mon Health. It was set up to relieve the already crowded local emergency rooms.
As well as the calls to the MECCA 911 call center, some emergencies were reported through the University Police Department Command Post at Milan Puskar Stadium. WVU reported 31 EMS calls inside the stadium and 46 outside.
According to WVU officials, University Police responded to 36 law enforcement calls for a variety of issues outside Milan Puskar Stadium. Inside the stadium, UPD handled 14 law enforcement calls, while 10 were logged for State Police and two for Morgantown Police, according to UPD.
The numbers reported from WVU may have some overlap with the MECCA numbers if someone involved called 911 directly.
One arrest made by state troopers involved a male allegedly causing trouble in the stands. According to Monongalia County Magistrate Court records, Tyler Randles, 19, of Arlington, Va., was removed from the student section during the game and charged with assault of a government employee, obstruction and refusing to be fingerprinted or photographed.
The complaint against Randles states a West Virginia state trooper responded to the student seating area on the upper level following a report of a male urinating on people in the lower section of the stadium.
While heading to the scene, the trooper allegedly “observed a blonde petite male attempting to start a fight with another student.” The male was later identified as Randles.
According to the complaint, two state troopers removed Randles from the stands and escorted him out of the stadium. At the gate, Randles was told to leave but allegedly turned back around and started screaming at the officer and aggressively pointing his finger in the officer’s face, “I want your f****** badge number and your name!”
The trooper took Randles to the ground, placed him in handcuffs and escorted him to the State Police command bus in the Blue Lot. He was initially listed as a John Doe during booking due to him being uncooperative and refusing fingerprints, the complaint said. He was released from custody after posting $5,000 bond.
Overall, MECCA’s Smith said it was a fairly smooth evening. “Really not bad, you know,” he said. “It was a busy evening, but I would say all-in-all it went very well.”
The game Saturday against Texas Tech is not expected to see the same turnout so Weyen said the additional care center will not be set up and medical care will return to normal with patients being treated in first aid rooms at the stadium or local emergency departments.