Visitor dies after fall from dorm

A 19-year old Colorado man died early Sunday morning when he fell from the top of Durfee Hall during a party.

The man was found lying in front of the Yale Women’s Center at 3 a.m. Police rushed him to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was declared dead.

As of Sunday night, the man’s name had not been released, pending notification of his family, Karen Peart, an assistant director of public affairs for Yale, said.

Yale police chief James Perrotti said the incident appeared to be an accident.

Before his fall, the man was attending a party in Durfee held by Calhoun juniors. He had come to Yale to visit his girlfriend, a Yale student, said Nicole Willis ’05, a resident of the suite holding the party and a friend of both the victim and his girlfriend.

At about 3 a.m. New Haven police received a medical assist call for Elm Street, New Haven Police Sgt. Ray Johannes said. Paramedics were on the scene before police arrived, Johannes said, but the man they found was unresponsive. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital, but could not be revived.

Saturday night, the man and a group of friends attended La Noche Dorada, a banquet organized by the Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity. Willis said the man had nothing to drink at the party. Derek Morales ’05, one of the event’s organizers, said alcohol was served, but that everyone was required to show identification.

After the party, a group of about 20 people went back to Willis’ suite, which is across the hall from Morales’, for dancing. Willis said alcohol was not served.

Once in Durfee, the victim remained in the common room for several minutes and then went into one of the suite’s bedrooms, Willis said.

“He went into another room to talk on the phone because it was loud,” Willis said. “Pretty soon people started coming up the stairs saying there were ambulances and there had been an accident. Eventually we figured out it was [the victim].”

Accounts of how the fall occurred differ. Police maintain that the victim fell from one of Durfee’s upper windows. But Willis said that the man climbed onto the roof of Durfee and fell.

“It’s not clear what he was doing up there,” Willis said.

The students living in the suite met with police for several hours after the incident and each gave a statement.

The victim’s girlfriend met with University Chaplain Frederick Streets at 3:30 a.m., University Secretary Linda Lorimer said. The Calhoun students who attended the party met Sunday night with Calhoun Master William Sledge and Dean Stephen Lassonde. Sledge said he would try to provide any counseling that was necessary to help the students.

“Everybody’s pretty shaken up,” Willis said.

Yale will allow the residents of the suite to move out if they choose, Willis said. She said she is considering the offer.

Morales said he thought the incident was tragic.

“I’m incredibly saddened,” he said. “I knew the kid. One of my friends was really close to him.”

Most of the students housed in Durfee are Morse College freshmen. Sunday afternoon, the Morse freshman counselors met with their counselees to discuss the incident.

Tereneh Nazem ’07 said she did not hear of the man’s fall, though she was in Durfee Sunday night. She said she found it disturbing to think that the man had died so close to her and she had not even known about it.

At 9:11 a.m. Sunday, Lorimer sent an e-mail to Yale students, faculty and staff explaining the incident. In the e-mail, Lorimer said students who were in Durfee around the time of the incident should contact Yale police.

A policeman and onlookers gather outside Durfee Hall, which was closed Sunday by crime scene tape. The body of a 19-year-old man was found in this area at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. The man, who was visiting Yale, died after falling from the top of Durfee.
Will Sullivan
A policeman and onlookers gather outside Durfee Hall, which was closed Sunday by crime scene tape. The body of a 19-year-old man was found in this area at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. The man, who was visiting Yale, died after falling from the top of Durfee.

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