Patriot Fans Hurt In Goal-Post Mishap Are Awarded $5M


A Suffolk Superior Court jury awarded nearly $5 million yesterday to two New England Patriots fans who suffered severe electrical burns when a goal post carried out of Foxboro Stadium by celebrating fans struck a high-tension wire and fell on them. The awards were against a security firm, Wackenhut Corp., and the town of Foxboro.

The jury awarded $3.25 million to Jon B. Pallazola, 31, and $1.4 million to Robert E. Abramson, 25.

They were burned following the Dec. 22, 1985, game with the Cincinnati Bengals in which the Patriots earned a playoff berth. A 30-foot section of goal post was carried onto Route 1, where a group of fans stuck it in a metal barrel and the top touched a high-tension wire.

Pallazola, a computer programmer, was struck on the arm and burned to the bone. Abramson reached up to catch the pole to prevent it from falling on his head and suffered burns to both hands.


Hard-serving David Wheaton of the U.S. and Wimbledon champion Michael Stich of Germany moved to a semifinal meeting with victories in the $6 million Grand Slam Cup in Munich.

Wheaton saved four set points in the second set to beat Todd Woodbridge of Australia, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).

Stich, aided by a disputed call in the key game of the second set, beat France's Guy Forget, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4.

"Bad calls sometimes are part of the game," Forget said. "You have to deal with it."

With Forget serving at 4-4, a Stich shot that appeared out was intentionally hit into the net by Forget. The linesman called the Stich ball good and the decision was upheld by umpire Bruno Rebeuh, giving Stich the point and the game to go up 5-4. He then held serve to win the match.

In the other semifinal today, Ivan Lendl meets Michael Chang.


Don January ambled into the first round lead with a 5-under-par 67 in the season-ending event on the Senior PGA Tour in Dorado, P.R. The purse totals $2 million - $1 million for this event and $1 million in season-long bonus money. The payoff will determine the money winning title for the season.

Jim Colbert, No. 4 on the money list, was the best of the four at 69. George Archer, the leader in the money standings with $821,455, could do no better than a 71. Chi Chi Rodriguez took himself out of the title and money races with a 75. Mike Hill, the defending champion and second to Archer with $765,657, had a 70.

-- Defending champion Betsy King defeated Caroline Keggi 4 and 3 during the rain-soaked second round of the $500,000 LPGA World Match Play Championship in Princeville, Hawaii.

In other matches, Deb Richard defeated Laura Davies 3 and 1, Michelle Estill beat Danielle Ammaccapane 3 and 1, Tina Barret beat Juli Inkster 4 and 3, Kristi Albers topped Kasumi Adachi 3 and 1, Dawn Coe downed Rosie Jones 2 and 1 and Chris Tschetter defeated Elaine Crosby 5-and-3.


Sightings of underwater spies are enlivening the preliminaries to the America's Cup yacht races. The camp of American skipper Dennis Conner, who hopes to defend the Cup for the San Diego Yacht Club, reported that two underwater spies were spotted swimming around Stars and Stripes Thursday morning.

Conner's crew dove in and chased the divers, who never surfaced. "But they did leave a souvenir," said spokeswoman Barbara Schwartz. "It was a sophisticated electronic measuring device."


Dan Jansen skated the the world's fastest 500 meters this season in a track-record 36.59 seconds on opening night of the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating trials.


U.S. Olympic Committee executive director Harvey Schiller met with a special investigator yesterday. Arnold Burns, a former U.S. Deputy Attorney General, is investigating at least five allegations that Schiller asked for free equipment or clothing.