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Chicago Bears Fan's Fatal Fall at Soldier Field an Accident

By Laura Strachan, Esq. | Last updated on

Tragedy struck Soldier Field during a recent Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles game when a 23-year-old spectator fell to his eventual death. Stuart Haverty fell almost 35 feet from the colonnade level of the stadium and was pronounced dead at the hospital hours later.

The open-air concourse has a railing about 3 feet high and, beyond that, a ledge about 2 feet wide. The Baltimore Sun reports that there were conflicting reports as to Haverty's reason for being in such close proximity to the railing -- ranging from a witness claiming he ran over the edge to another claiming that Haverty went by the railing to smoke. This is the first fatal fall at Soldier Field since the stadium was renovated in 2003.

Stadium spokeswoman Luca Serra told The Sun: "We hope this is an isolated incident." Serra added that there are no new safety measures being contemplated at this time. Haverty's death has been ruled an accident by the local medical examiner's office.

Whether or not it is a good idea for the stadium to maintain the safety status quo has questionable legal backing should another tragedy occur, now that the potential for a deadly accident has come true.

The legal premise is simple: Soldier Field is now on notice of the danger. If it fails to fix the problem, or at least engage in measures that would increase safety, the stadium could find itself in some shaky negligence territory. Haverty's death marks the second fatal fall at a sports stadium in the past month.

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