September 1, 2009 in Idaho

UI student in critical condition after fall

University official says victim showing improvement at Harborview
The Lewiston Morning Tribune
 

A University of Idaho student who reportedly fell from a third-story fraternity house window over the weekend was listed Monday in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

But a UI official said Shane Meyer, 20, of Boise, was on the mend. “I can’t talk specifically about his medical condition,” said Bruce Pitman, dean of students at UI. “But I can tell you that I am in frequent contact with his family, and that he is in stable condition and improving.”

Moscow police said Meyer fell around midnight Saturday. He was taken by ambulance to Gritman Medical Center, then airlifted to Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene before being transferred to Harborview.

“Right now we’re still trying to gather up potential witnesses and statements,” said Lt. David Lehmitz. “So we don’t have a lot, other than it looks like it was an extremely unfortunate accident.”

Meyer is thought to have fallen from his room window at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity at 700 Idaho St. and was rendered unconscious when he hit the ground, Lehmitz said. “We’re still trying to work through why he was outside (the window) and what he was doing.”

Investigators are trying to determine whether alcohol was involved, Lehmitz said, adding there appeared to be no evidence of a party going on at the time of the incident. “We have some information that there were some kids in the room. So we’re trying to track down the event. But everything is leading at this time to accidental.”

Pitman said the university was in immediate contact Saturday morning with chapter leaders at the fraternity. He said counseling services have been provided and UI officials are helping the students tend to other needs. “They have some obligations to work with their alumni and national organization. We’re making sure that they are doing that in a timely way.”

Pitman said UI is not considering any action at this point. “The police are leading the investigation,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to wait until the investigation is complete. I’m certainly focusing my energy on supporting the student and his family right now.”

Lehmitz said everyone has been cooperating with police. “We’re not having any problems on that aspect at all.” He said the incident left students stunned and grief-stricken. “I think one of the house members called it in, because the girlfriend was outside where he had fallen.”

A spokeswoman at Harborview said she was prohibited by law from disclosing the nature of Meyer’s injuries. Lehmitz said an investigating officer reported apparent head injuries and possibly a broken arm.

Meyer is a sophomore at UI studying psychology and communications.

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