Virginia Tech football player Cody Journell sprayed a can of pepper-spray in Blacksburg’s Buffalo Wild Wings last Thursday night, clearing out the restaurant and bar.
The incident happened around 9 p.m. Thursday as Journell and some of his friends were watching the Virginia Tech-Virginia basketball game.
Journell described the incident as an accident and expressed regret.
“Stuff likes this happens,” Journell said, “Accidents happen.”
According to Journell, he was describing to his friend how her small can of pepper-spray worked, holding the key-chain sized can in his hand. As he passed it back to her, it was triggered and released.
According to a server who was working at the time and witnessed the incident, Journell immediately approached someone who worked at the restaurant and admitted that it was him and that it had been an accident.
Later, Journell went to the police himself to report the incident.
The entire bar and most of the restaurant ran outside onto the patio. People were crying, coughing and throwing up from the effects of the gas.
The restaurant was cleared for approximately an hour and about $50 dollars of tabs were left unpaid. Those working at the time also lost money in unpaid tips.
“I think he meant to do it,” the server admitted, based on observation, “But I don’t think he knew it was going to have the effect that it had.”
“He was extremely apologetic,” the server emphasized.
Buffalo Wild Wings and those affected are currently not pressing any charges. Police did not make an arrest.
A security camera caught the incident on tape, but the Collegiate Times was unable to obtain a copy of the video.
Buffalo Wild Wings was unavailable for comment.
Journell, who will be a redshirt-senior in the fall, is kicker on the football team. In 2012, he played in all 13 games, kicking game winners against Georgia Tech, Boston College and Virginia. He went 20-25 on field goal attempts in 2012.
On Dec. 21, 2011, Journell and two others went to the apartment of Tech basketball player Dorenzo Hudson and his roommate to retrieve stolen marijuana, according to prosecutors.
Journell remained in jail through Dec. 28 before being released on a $100,000 secured bond. He was suspended from the team until his legal matters were resolved. In May, the court found Journell guilty of misdemeanor trespassing. He was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
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Sports editor Matt Jones contributed to this report.