Flurry of accidents hit campus community

One of the few weekends left in the semester saw three students flown to area hospitals

Published by Joe Wells, Date: April 14, 2022
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A series of accidents over the weekend prompted Slippery Rock University to reach out to students and offer support services.

The chain of events began Friday evening when University Police received a call for assistance at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium just after 6 p.m. Over at the stadium, a SRU student-athlete was injured during a throwing competition.

The co-hosted event by SRU and Westminster College was part of the two-day Westminster College Track and Field Invitational.

That student was flown to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Presbyterian Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Jon Holtz, director of athletic communication at SRU.

The university did not release the name of the student-athlete but did say they were in stable condition Sunday. The student is expected to make a full recovery, Holtz said.

A little over an hour later, University Police received a call for a person who fell in the Student Union Commuter Lot and possibly broke their ankle. Emergency medical services were called to the area and transported the person to a nearby hospital.

Then around midnight on Saturday, University Police were notified of another accident involving an SRU student at an off-campus housing complex.

SRU Student Gage Brain fell from a railing at The Grove Apartments onto the concrete below. University Police helped assist with that call as well, which resulted in Brain being taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital.

Days after the accident, friends of Brain established a GoFundMe campaign to help the student with their medical bills. As of Thursday night, the campaign has raised more than $8,600.

Around the same time police were responding to The Grove, Butler County 911 services notified University Police that a person was hit by a car near the Lower Stadium C Lot. That person was also life-flighted to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital.

While the person’s condition is still unknown, SRU Police Chief Kevin Sharkey said he could not release any details about what happened as the case is still under investigation. That investigation could lead to charges being filed by police, Sharkey said.

By noon Saturday, Karla Fonner, dean of students sent an email out to the campus community about the unusually high level of serious accidents that took place.

“SRU is a caring community where we hope students make life-long connections,” Fonner said in the email. “As we move further into a spring semester where larger gatherings are likely to occur, the university would like to remind everyone to gather responsibly and to look out for one another.”

The university asked students who wanted to talk with someone about the events to reach out to the SRU Counseling Center at 724.738.2034 or submit a Care Referral. Faculty and staff members needing assistance can reach out through the State Employee Assistance Program at 800.692.7459.

The email encouraged students to assist those who may be intoxicated and in need of medical attention by calling Student Health Services, which is located in Rhodes Hall, at 724.738.2052.

For an on-campus emergency, students should call University Police at 724.738.3333, or if off-campus, call 911.

Saturday night into Sunday, officers with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement were in the Slippery Rock area. On Wednesday, they charged six people with underage possession of alcohol and one other with public drunkenness.

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