UPDATE: Power Out, Students Mob Streets at SIU-Carbondale

Michael Calhoun

CARBDONDALE, Ill. (KMOX) – Three people were hurt when the Southern Illinois University-Carbondale campus “turned into a mosh pit.”

2,000 Ameren Illinois customers in the city lost power late Wednesday, including the campus. Just over 1,000 students left their apartments and dormitories and spilled onto the streets.

One father, named Alan, called KMOX to say that his daughter, a senior, lives in one of the campus high-rise apartments and her building was “on lock-down.”

“They’re hearing sporatic popping noises,” the father said his daughter told him. “They could see large groups of people wandering around with flashlights.”

The lights went dark not long after 9 o’clock.

SIUC spokesman Rod Sievers said students “used the incident as the occasion for an impromptu party, which was all well and good, until it kind of got out of hand.”

A “sea of kids” mobbed the streets, setting off fireworks, a student who called KMOX described. “You couldn’t see the pavement,” Nathan Hoefert said. “It was literally three-fourths of the campus outside.”

His estimate was that 20-30 police officers had taken to the school, bearing batons and cans of mace. None of those measures were actually used on the crowd.

“There were riot police here with the masks and the batons,” the sophomore said. “For the most part, they controlled it.”

(WARNING: some inappropriate language)(video via Thomas Bilbrey)

Sievers said there were three calls for ambulances and some “very minor property damage to a car.”

He stressed that it was not a riot.

The three injuries included one student involved in a fight, another knocked down and the third with a cut on his head.

On-the-scene accounts of the situation first surfaced on Twitter, with messages like “Ok #siuc scaring me now” and “These ppl just broke a car window” being posted.

KMOX first learned of it when worried parents called the newsroom, after their kids had phoned home and told of the scene.

City and campus police acknowledged the power outage, but initially denied there were issues with crowd control on campus.

The school later said this on Twitter:

“The students are in their residence halls for the night. There is not rioting going on. Professionals are working to restore power.”

Electricity was mostly restored by 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

Classes are expected to be held as usual.

Copyright KMOX Radio


More From CBS St. Louis

KMOX Podcasts
As Heard On KMOX

Listen Live