Local News

Student Dies, Another Injured In Fall From UNC Dorm

Posted February 24, 2006

— One student died and another is in critical condition after they fell from a UNC-Chapel Hill dorm room window early Friday morning.

Authorities said that the two male students -- 20-year-old Keith Shawn Smith and 19-year-old Tyler Joseph Ely Downey -- were running in a hallway at Stacy Residence Hall at around 12:23 a.m. Friday when their momentum caused them to fall through a hallway window three floors up and land onto a concrete ramp outside the basement laundry room.

Other students called 911, but both students were unconscious when emergency personnel arrived.

UNC officials said Smith, a sophomore from Greensboro died after the fall. He was a resident assistant at the dorm. Downey, a freshman from Asheville, is in critical condition at UNC Hospitals.

On the UNC-CH campus Friday, there was a lot of talk and reflecting. As soon as word spread about the accident, friends posted messages on their Facebook.com pages -- thoughts of hope and encouragement for Downey, and prayers for Smith.

"He was a great guy," said student Ford Eubanks. "He'd come around and check on rooms and talk for a while."

Staff and counselors have been at the residence hall and UNC Hospitals to provide support to students, friends and family members of the two victims.

Officials do not believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.


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