Winona residents started their own version of a Vikings-Packers border battle early Sunday that left one man seriously injured.
Police were called shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday to reports of a street brawl involving as many as 50 or 60 people in the middle of Franklin Street near King Street, according to deputy police chief Tom Williams.
The crowd scattered when police arrived, leaving a 21-year-old man lying in the street, his face bleeding. He was transported to Winona Health by ambulance, then to St. Marys in Rochester by helicopter with a possible fractured skull.
A witness told police that about 10 friends were gathered on a porch near Franklin and King streets, bantering with each other about the relative merits and talents of the Packers and Vikings teams, Williams said. A group of people walking on the opposite side of Franklin Street overheard the banter and offered comments of their own.
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The exchange grew heated, the language became foul and the pedestrians stepped into the street, Williams said. The group on the porch responds in kind, trooping across the boulevard and into the street, where the verbal confrontation soon became physical.
The witness told police he saw three or four people punching and kicking a man on the ground who was lying in the fetal position with his arms wrapped around his head. The witness said he attempted to intervene, at which point the police arrived and everyone ran away, Williams said.
Police have not released the identity of the victim, but said so far he remembers nothing of the incident.