The recent death of Ohio State student Anthony Erick is a reminder of the growing risks that students may face during spring break.
Erick, a chemical engineering major and brother of Theta Tau fraternity who was expected to graduate in December 2011, is suspected to have fallen off a condominium balcony at The Flamingo in Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach on March 23 while vacationing with friends.
According to the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s office, Erick’s death is still under investigation. Regardless of the outcome of the ME report, family and friends continue to mourn their loss.
Frank Bodi, a second-year in material science and Theta Tau member, said Erick was funny and always had a joke for everyone.
Charlie Kiley, a third-year in chemical engineering and Theta Tau president, remembers his fraternity brother as “very intelligent and bright.”
“He was always the first person to help if anyone needed anything,” Kiley said. “Everyone will definitely miss him around here.”
In an interview with Fox 8 in Cleveland, family members expressed their grief and hope their tragedy will help alert others to the dangers of spring break.
The Miami Beach police department was unable to provide statistics regarding spring break accidents.
“Falling from a balcony is not very common. It’s actually a very unusual incident,” said John Babcock, Miami Beach Police department record manager.
Although Babcock considers the incident unusual, it is the fourth incident within two years to happen to a student while on vacation.
Brandon Kohler, 19, of Georgia, was vacationing with friends in Panama City Beach, Florida, when he fell from the fifth floor of his hotel balcony on March 23, 2010.
Just days later, Notre Dame football recruit Matt James, 17, died after falling from a fifth-floor hotel balcony while on his senior high school trip to Panama City Beach.
James McDonough, 24, a Rollins College student, died on February 26, after falling from a balcony in Charleston, S.C.
Erick’s mother, Christina Fortier, said in an interview with Fox 8 that everything happens for a reason.
“If it can open one person’s eyes to how quickly something can change and that you are not invincible,” Fortier said.