A 19-year-old woman died Sunday morning after accidentally falling out of a sixth-story window of a University of Minnesota residence hall Saturday afternoon.
The window’s screen had been removed, and she was trying to reach a nearby gravel rooftop about three feet away, said Deputy Chief Chuck Miner. He didn’t know if she fell going to the roof or returning to the room at Yudof Hall.
Minor couldn’t recall any similar accidental deaths at the University. He also said he didn’t believe police had received calls about people going onto the roof, which housed mechanical equipment.
The woman wasn’t a University student, and her friend was the only other person in the room, said Miner. Her identity hasn’t been released, but Miner said she was from Minneapolis.
The woman’s friend was moved to another residence hall room, said Minor. Police also interviewed another woman who witnessed the accident. The University is providing counseling for students if they need it.
Police received a 911 call at 4:38 p.m. that a woman had fallen out of a window and onto a courtyard at Yudof Hall on the University’s East Bank. The woman was conscious when she was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. The Hennepin County crime lab was at the scene, but it was only for routine assistance, University spokesman Chuck Tombarge said.
The screen that was removed was approximately three feet high and four feet wide, said Tim Busse, communications director for University Services. There wasn’t a ledge outside the window, he said. The roof was several feet lower than the window and surrounded by a ledge, he said.
“The roof was big enough for a person to be on,” said Busse.
The roof is accessible by a door on the sixth floor, which police used, he said.
Alcohol was found in the room, but Miner didn’t know if the woman who fell had consumed any of it. Police will continue to investigate, which will include autopsy results from the medical examiner.
While calling the accident tragic, Miner emphasized the screens weren’t made to be removed.
“We take safety very seriously for our students and those who come to visit our campus,” he said. “This wasn’t a safe thing to do.”