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12 Injured in Rush for Free Apple Pens
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RICHMOND, Virginia - A rush to pick up free click pens turned into a violent stampede Tuesday, with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and nearly driven over. One woman even held her breath until she passed out, in an attempt to obtain "backsies".

"Once they run out of ink, they aren't much use to us."
-- Ashton Lyler, school superintendent
"This is total, total chaos," said Latoya Smith, 19, who lost one of her jelly bracelets in the ordeal and later complained that she had neither a free pen nor a complete rainbow of bracelets. "Yeah, I feel cheated. Wouldn't you?"

More than 1,000 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old click pens, bearing the Apple computer logo, which retail for between $0.99 and $1.29. The Henrico County school system was offering 1,000 of the pens to county residents. "Once they run out of ink, they aren't much use to us," explained school superintendent Ashton Lyler, "But some folks get all excited about anything free, so we figured rather than just pitch 'em, we'd have a little fun!"

Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting for hours in line. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene. People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl's stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd.

Duke "Uncle Jesse" Sandleman said he was one of the people pushing forward, using a folding chair he had brought with him to beat back people who tried to cut in front of him. "I took my chair here and I threw it over my shoulder and I went, 'Bam,"' the 40-year-old said nonchalantly, his eyes transfixed by the in-out action of his new pen. "They were getting in front of me and I was there a lot earlier than them, so I thought that it was just," he said.

There are no plans to repeat the event next year, school officials said.
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