By Joe Engleman
Conflicting accounts are swirling around after a Jimmy John’s delivery driver told police on Feb. 14 that he was attacked by a group of College students outside the Bear Athletic Center who had objected to the environmental impact of his vehicle.
Assistant Director of Residence Life Dan Hirsch said an eyewitness account, though unknown to police, calls into question whether an attack occurred outside the Bear Center.
The Grinnell Police Department’s investigation of the incident is ongoing.
Late on the night of Feb. 14, officers arrived on the scene and met the driver, who informed them that he had been attacked after exiting the Bear Center, according to Grinnell Police Sgt. Christopher Wray.
“Upon returning to his vehicle, he had gone outside the athletic center and he was apparently confronted by a group of what he said were Grinnell College students,” Wray said. “There was apparently a verbal exchange over the vehicle that he was driving, some of the students, according to the victim, perceived his vehicle as a gas hog, and not environmentally friendly. A verbal altercation ensued between him and the students that subsequently escalated to a physical altercation.”
Police confirmed that the driver had injuries consistent with an assault. “The Jimmy John’s driver reported being struck in the face area, and he did have obvious injuries to his face,” Wray said.
Grinnell Police officers and Campus Security searched the area, but were unable to find anyone matching the description the driver gave to the police. The investigation continues, and is currently being led by Officer Dave Menninga.
Hirsch has expressed reservations about the driver’s version of events.
“Eyewitness accounts of the incident are inconsistent with the story reported to the GPD by the Jimmy John’s driver,” Hirsch said in an email Wednesday night. “Any other information, such as attempted framing of college students or any other intent, is purely speculative at this point.”