An estimated 5,500 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old Apple iBooks offered for $50 apiece recently. The Henrico County school system was selling 1,000 of the computers to county residents. New iBooks cost between $999 and $1,299. Kristen Gelineau of the AP reports on the fracas.
“Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting since 1:30 a.m. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene.
People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl’s stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd.
“It’s rather strange that we would have such a tremendous response for the purchase of a laptop computer _ and laptop computers that probably have less-than- desirable attributes,” said Paul Proto, director of general services for Henrico County. “But I think that people tend to get caught up in the excitement of the event _ it almost has an entertainment value.”