Soldier Field fatal fall ruled accidental

Nov. 29, 2010 at 9:50 PM
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CHICAGO, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- The death of a 23-year-old man in a fall at Chicago's Soldier Field following a Bears game was an accident, medical authorities ruled Monday.

The Cook County, Ill., medical examiner's office said its autopsy showed Stuart Haverty, 23, died of multiple injuries sustained about 5 p.m. Sunday when he fell about 35 feet from a stadium ledge, the Chicago Tribune reported. Haverty was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital about a half hour after he fell.

Citing a source, the Tribune reported witnesses gave investigators differing descriptions of the circumstances of the accident, including that Haverty had run over the edge or had gone outside a railing to smoke a cigarette.

He plummeted about 35 feet from the stadium's west side colonnade level at about the 50-yard line, said Luca Serra, a spokesman for the SMG company, which runs the stadium for the Chicago Park District.

Haverty is the first person to be killed in a fall at Soldier Field since it was renovated in 2003. Previously, the stadium columns were not accessible to the general public.

No changes are being considered in the layout at this time, Serra said.

"We hope this is an isolated incident," he said.

The Bears, who had just won Sunday's game against Philadelphia, said in a statement Monday the team was "deeply saddened to hear of the tragic accident."

"Our hearts go out to his family and friends. They will be in our prayers during this difficult time," the statement said.

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