"This is total, total chaos," said Latoya Jones, 19, who lost one of her flip-flops in the ordeal and later limped around on the sizzling blacktop with one foot bare.
An estimated 5,500 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old Apple iBooks. The Henrico County school system was selling 1,000 of the computers to county residents. New iBooks cost between $999 and $1,299.
Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting since 1:30 a.m. 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.
Seventeen people suffered minor injuries, with four requiring hospital treatment, Henrico County Battalion Chief Steve Wood said. There were no arrests and the iBooks sold out by 1 p.m.