Notre Dame fined for student's death

Notre Dame fined for student's death

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
1:38 p.m.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP)Indiana regulators fined Notre Dame 77,500 on Tuesday for six safety violations in the October death of a 20-year-old student who was killed when the hydraulic lift he was on toppled over in high winds while he was filming football practice.

The school failed to maintain safe working conditions or heed National Weather Service warnings on a day wind speeds in the area reached 53 mph, the Indiana Department of Labor said.

The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrated that the university made a decision to utilize its scissor lifts in known adverse weather conditions, agency Commissioner Lori Torres said.

Declan Sullivan, a junior film student from Long Grove, Ill., died Oct. 27 after the lift he was on fell over. Less than an hour earlier, he had tweeted his concerns about what he described as terrifying weather.

Gusts of wind up to 60 mph today will be fun at work I guess Ive lived long enough, he wrote.

The scissor lift was not supposed to be used in winds above 28 mph, but the weather service had issued a warning saying winds of 25 mph to 35 mph were expected with gusts of up to 45 mph. Torres said the university was at fault for allowing Sullivan to be in the lift after the weather service had issued the advisory.

The school has until April 7 to accept the findings and pay the fines, contest the safety orders or meet with the agency.

University spokesman Dennis Brown said the school had no immediate response because officials were reviewing the report. The Rev. John Jenkins, the university president, said in an e-mail in November to students, faculty, staff and alumni that the school was responsible for Sullivans death because it failed to protect him.

Sullivans parents, Barry and Alison, issued a statement saying they appreciated the thorough investigation.

This report is an important step in preventing future accidents, but its findings do not change the fact that Declan is not with us, they wrote.

Sullivans uncle, Mike Miley, said the report hadnt changed the familys opinion, saying they hope others will learn from Sullivans death and take appropriate safety steps in the future.

The other violations included a failure to make annual, monthly or weekly inspections of the lifts for more than a year; a failure to have the scissor lift serviced as required by the manufacturer; and a failure to have an operators manual on the unit. The lift was also missing some warning labels while others were faded and weathered.

Notre Dame announced last week that it will no longer use hydraulic lifts for videographers at football practices and has begun installing remote-controlled cameras at its outdoor practice fields. The new cameras are expected to be in operation by the start of spring football practice on March 23.

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Tuesday on CSN+: UIC hosts Green Bay

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Tuesday on CSN+: UIC hosts Green Bay

College hoops returns to CSN on Tuesday with some local action as UIC hosts Green Bay. You can watch this Horizon League matchup live on CSN+ at 7 p.m.

The Flames (14-14, 7-8) are coming off of a loss to Oakland as they try to make one more push up the conference standings. Junior big man Tai Odiase leads UIC at 11.3 points per game as the former Homewood-Flossmoor product is also a solid rim protector.

Green Bay (16-11, 10-5) is still fighting for one of the conference's top spots as they're coming off of a win over Milwaukee. The Phoenix already own a four-point win over UIC this season at home in a close game.

Senior guard Charles Cooper is averaging 13.0 points per game as he's been one of the better guards in the conference this season. 

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Former Northwestern football player Torri Stuckey now focuses on helping others

Torri Stuckey played football at Northwestern and has dedicated his post-playing career to helping others.

Stuckey, who was born in the same Illinois town, Robbins, that Dwyane Wade grew up in, played safety and was a captain for the Wildcats. He graduated in 2004 and is now 34.

As someone who worked his way to a better life, he now tries to help others do the same. He has self-help workshops for teenagers and young adults in urban poverty and wrote a book, Impoverished State of Mind: Thinking Outside da Block, on the subject.

Stuckey, who currently lives in Chicago, was featured as part of CSN's Black History Month series. Watch the video above to see more about Stuckey's efforts.