Campus

IU freshman dies after fall

POSTED AT 01:44 PM ON Aug. 23, 2013  (UPDATED AT 12:58 PM ON Aug. 25, 2013)

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IU freshman Rachael Fiege, 19, was taken off of life support and pronounced dead Saturday morning at IU Health Bloomington Hospital after suffering injuries from falling down a staircase early Friday morning.

Fiege's parents and doctors determined she had no brain activity at about 3:30 p.m. Friday,  Associate Vice President of IU Communications Mark Land said. She was placed on life support, and an organ donation process was initiated soon after.

Fiege's death was announced by Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith at 8:06 a.m. Saturday, IU Police Department Interim Chief Laury Flint said. Officials have not yet determined the exact cause of death, except for the result of injuries sustained in the fall, Flint said.  

Fiege was found unresponsive Friday morning between 1 and 2 a.m. at the bottom of a staircase at a house on the 800 block of North Park Avenue, Flint said. The student who found her called IUPD at 7:48 a.m., and Fiege was transported to the hospital by ambulance at 7:52 a.m.

Fiege, of Zionsville, was a pre-nursing major living in Wright Quad. She was at a party when she fell down the stairs. She was discovered quickly, Flint said, but the other students present did not call IUPD until several hours later.

“The thought initially was probably that the injury was not as serious as it was,” Flint said.

A student found her at the bottom of the stairs and took her to a different location in the house to lie down. After checking that she was unresponsive, the student called IUPD.

Alcohol was present at the house party, Flint said, but results from Fiege's toxicology report have not yet returned. No criminal charges are anticipated at this time, she said.

Although the house on North Park Avenue is not owned by IU, IUPD responded to the incident because the house is close to campus. IUPD has interviewed other students present at the residence during the incident.

“Because we weren’t called until 7:48, we’re trying to backtrack,” Flint said.

"At this time it's just awful," Flint said. "If there's anything we can learn about this situation is to call for help as soon as something happens."

 

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