A 19-year-old Washington State University student was seriously injured early Sunday morning after falling from the third-story balcony of an off-campus apartment building.
It’s the fourth time this semester WSU students have injured themselves in falls while drinking, Pullman police spokesman Cmdr. Chris Tennant said.
Tennant said the woman was drinking at a small gathering celebrating the football team’s win Saturday. She was sitting on the balcony railing around 1:15 a.m. Sunday when she fell.
She was unconscious when police arrived but regained consciousness on the way to Pullman Regional Hospital, Tennant said. She was later transferred to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane with a broken arm and serious but not life-threatening internal injuries.
Police declined to release her name.
Another student was injured in a fall several weeks ago on private property, Tennant said.
In September, a 20-year-old Delta Upsilon fraternity member was hospitalized in critical condition after falling from the third story of a fraternity house. He remains hospitalized in Spokane, according to updates posted by family members on Facebook.
A 19-year-old student was injured in August when she fell while trying to vomit out of a second-story window in the Delta Gamma sorority house. The last serious fall at WSU prior to August appears to have been in 2013, according to newspaper archives.
Police typically respond to falls to make sure they were accidental, not criminal. They also control crowds if needed, Tennant said. Four officers responded to the scene Sunday morning and spent about 15 minutes there, with a lead investigator returning later to interview witnesses.
An officer’s time costs the department about $50 per hour for a normal shift, but Tennant said alcohol-related accidents on the WSU campus aren’t a big drain on police resources.
“This is what we do. We live in a college town. These things happen. I’m more concerned about a life-changing event for the student and their families,” he said.
He said the uptick in falls this semester is frustrating and attributed it to increased binge drinking. Tennant said police can only try to increase awareness.
“We literally cannot prevent these things,” he said.
The department’s College Hill beat officer gives talks to all fraternities and sororities at the beginning of the year about topics like falls and sexual assault, he said.
“You can’t measure your successes. It only comes up when you have your failures,” he said.
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