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Indiana University Freshman Rachael Fiege, 19, Dies After Falling At Party

| by Sylvan Lane

An Indiana University-Bloomington freshman died Saturday after she fell down a basement staircase early Friday morning during a party.

Rachael Fiege, 19, of Zionsville, Ind., was pronounced dead Saturday after she was taken off of life support at a Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital just after 8 a.m.

According to The Indianapolis Star,

Fiege was newly arrived on campus for new-student orientation and was set to start classes Monday, said IU spokesman Mark Land. She was living in a campus residence hall and was visiting friends in a house just off campus at 817 N. Park Ave. where she fell down a flight of basement stairs between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Friday, he said.

Other people at the house apparently didn’t realize she was injured, and she fell asleep at the house, Land said.

Fiege was unconscious and not breathing when emergency workers arrived, university police said, and was pronounced brain dead later that day at the hospital. Her parents decided to take her off life support Saturday morning, according to police.

Police are currently awaiting toxicology reports to determine whether or not Fiege was drinking at the party before she fell. Monroe County coroner Nicole Meyer also told The Star it is not know yet whether or not Fiege died from any injuries sustained when she fell.

IU interim police chief Laury Flint told The Star it appeared Fiege’s friends “were aware of lifeline laws that would have allowed them to call emergency services without fear of arrest for holding a party with underage drinkers. She said it appears no one called for help because they did not realize the extent of Fiege’s injuries.”

“In these kind of cases, we encourage people to always call for help,” Land said. “Our interest isn’t in necessarily busting a party; it’s in getting help to a person who’s hurt.”

Rachael’s mother, Angi Fiege , had just gotten off work as a physician at an hospital in Indianapolis when she learned about her daughter’s injury. A former nurse, she had been serving a patient on life support earlier that morning, according to IU’s Indiana Daily Student.

“It was a nightmare to live on the other side of that,” Angi Fiege said. “You can never feel the pain of being the parent of a child dying.”

Sources: The Indianapolis Star, The Indiana Daily Student

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