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.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Saturday on CSN: Bradley vs. Nevada; Illinois State vs. New Mexico

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Saturday on CSN: Bradley vs. Nevada; Illinois State vs. New Mexico

CSN will have two quality college basketball matchups on Saturday as two Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge games will be featured live.

Bradley (4-3) has Nevada (6-2) in town for a 7 p.m. game Saturday on CSN while Illinois State (3-2) will host New Mexico (5-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday on CSN+.

The Braves have alternated wins and losses all season as they hope to build momentum off of a road win over Eastern Illinois.

Freshman guard Darrell Brown paces Bradley at 15.3 points per game on 48 percent three-point shooting while junior guard JoJo McGlaston is putting up 12.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest.

Nevada enters this one winning four of their last five games as senior guard Marcus Marshall is averaging 20.0 points and 3.9 assists per game. Sophomore forward Cameron Oliver has been generating some pro buzz as he's averaging 16.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from three-point range.

In the second contest, Illinois State is hoping for a key non-conference win against a quality opponent. Senior forward Deontae Hawkins is doing some solid damage as he's averaging 16.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while junior forward MiKyle McIntosh is at 14.2 points and 7.2 rebounds a game.

Proviso East product Paris Lee is also having a good year at guard for Illinois State.

New Mexico is led by a former area product as Homewood-Flossmoor graduate Tim Williams is averaging 19.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Lobos. Junior guard Elijah Brown, the son of former NBA coach Mike Brown, is also playing well for New Mexico as he's putting up 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Preview: Northern Iowa takes on George Mason tonight on CSN+

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Preview: Northern Iowa takes on George Mason tonight on CSN+

Northern Iowa looks to snap a two-game losing streak as they host George Mason tonight. You can catch this game live on CSN+ at 7 p.m.

The Panthers (3-2) have lost both games to Xavier as Northern Iowa matched up with the top-25 team for the title in the Tire Pros Invitational in Orlando before losing to them on the road less than a week later.

Northern Iowa does own some solid wins over Oklahoma and Arizona State as they're led by senior Jeremy Morgan, who is averaging 16.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game -- which all lead the team. 

Junior forward Klint Carlson has also been strong for the Panthers as he's put up 12.2 points per game while shooting 44 percent from three-point range.

George Mason (3-2) has won three consecutive games -- with two of those wins coming by four points or less. The Patriots haven't played anyone as good as Northern Iowa yet as they beat Kent State, Bradley and James Madison.