Huntsville’s Collins Nelson, 18, and a number of other students met the press at his lawyer’s office. Will League, Nelson’s representative, stated that Nelson is seeking damages for the injuries he received, which include a broken nose and a fractured eye socket which will require surgery.
Nelson stated that he was boating with his friends on the Flint River, a popular boating destination in Madison County. Nelson’s group consisted of fourteen kids, out of which five were girls. The teens brought coolers filled with beer but were not intoxicated, Nelson claims.
Reportedly, a man rowing behind them started to insult the group and called Nelson a “sissy boy.” The group says that they responded in kind, calling that person the same thing. However, after the man threatened that he would rape the girls, they decided to try and run away. The man told them that he would be waiting for them downriver along with his friends.
Nelson says that as they proceeded to go downriver, they started hearing the man’s friends in the woods, threatening them and telling them to get ready.
When they reached an accessible river bank, the attackers got in the water and proceeded to flip the teen’s kayaks, put Nelson in a headlock, and beat his face.
Nelson claims he was assaulted by two men and held underwater, and he also claims that he doesn’t remember much of the fight after that.
After finally managing to run away down the river, they tried to seek protection from many adults on the river. As they were looking for help, the attackers were still following them and insulting them.
A 16-year-old girl from Nelson’s group stated that during the initial confrontation, she heard the man threatening to rape one of the girls. After the man left the teens alone, they discussed how to get away.
The girl, who decided to remain anonymous, explained that they came to a decision to go further down the river. Soon, they saw a large group of people following them down the river and impersonating animals. The girl alleged that the group of attackers shouted that they would “get” them. She successfully evaded the fight, although she did see one of her friends being flipped over in the river.
Another one of her friends was pulled down from her kayak by a woman pulling her hair and holding her head under water.
Luckily someone notified the police, and they were waiting at the takeout point.