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Boyfriend Arrested After UNC Student Falls in...

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CHAPEL HILL — A UNC freshman has been releasedon bond after being charged with assaulting another student who fell five stories down an elevator shaft.

Chapel Hill police arrested 19-year-old Thomas Henry Suddarth III on Monday, a day after 20-year-oldEvelyn Leilani Bankov, 20, was seriously injured in the fall at GranvilleTowers East, a privately owned dormitory for UNC students.Bankov, a freshman from Wilmington, was listed in good condition Tuesdayat UNC Hospitals.

Authorities said Suddarth and Bankov had been drinking before Suddarthpushed Bankov against the elevator doors on the eighth floor of GranvilleEast. Somehow, the elevator doors opened, and Bankov fell five floors,landing on top of the elevator car, a police report said.

Suddarth was charged with assault inflicting seriousinjury, giving amalt beverage to an underage person andunderage possession of alcohol in connection with Sunday's incident.

He was released Monday after posting a $500 bond. He is scheduled toappear in court on the charges on March 3.

Suddarth's father, Thomas Suddarth II, told WRAL TV5'sAmanda Lambthat he thinks his son isinnocent.

Police say Bankov and Suddarth, abusiness major from Lexington, N.C., were drinking alcohol Sundaybefore the 1:30 a.m. incident. The elevator is inGranville Towers East dormitory where Bankov lives. Suddarth lives inGranville Towers South.

Jane Cousins, a spokesperson for the Chapel Hill Police Department, saysit appears the elevator door opened when Bankov was pushed against it.

The elevator had passed a N.C. Department of Labor inspectionon Nov. 20, 1996. It also had passed inspection in May 1995 and May 1996.Thestate labor department is responsible for inspecting elevators in NorthCarolina. It is still unclear how or why the doors opened after Bankov waspushed against them.

Another elevator-related injury near the UNC campus was reportedMonday. A delivery man was treated for minor back injuries afterreporting another elevator accident at a university officebuilding north of the main campus.

Robert Eugene Haire, 31, of Cary, a Federal Express worker, was treatedand released from UNC Hospitals Mondayafternoon.

Haire told campus police that he took an elevator to the third floor ofthe Bolin Creek Center about 12:30 p.m.

Haire said the elevator fell between five and 10 feet when it reached thethird floor, but before the doors opened, said campuspolice Capt. Jeff McCracken.

After the fall, the doors opened and Haire made his deliveries. He thentook the elevator back to the first floor and asked aworker to call campus police after he began to feel a pain in his back.

The elevator had passed a state inspection just last week, schoolofficials said.


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