University Of Southern Mississippi Student Jokes About Ramming Himself Into Hotel Window, Falls To His Death; Potentially Intoxicated
A University of Southern Mississippi student died after he fell from a hotel he was staying in. Reports said the student was intoxicated at the time of the incident and he joked about ramming himself into the hotel window before falling.
CBS News identified the student as Cole Whaley, who was staying at the DoubleTree Hotel on Canal Street in New Orleans. The Orleans Parish Coroner's Office said Whaley was at the 11th floor when he fell to an outdoor area by the pool on the fourth floor.
He died of injuries including skull fractures and subdural hemorrhage as per Jeffrey Rouse, the coroner in the area. The preliminary cause of death was identified as blunt force trauma but the final cause of death is yet to be revealed, awaiting toxicology test results.
Officials from the University of Southern Mississippi said they are saddened by the tragedy and they reached out to the family of Whaley to let them know that friends and loved ones are offering their prayers and support. Whaley was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He was at a fraternity-related event, where some members said he died of a freak accident.
"Our understanding is that he alone broke out the window and then fell out of it," Eighth District Commander Nick Gernon said. "He was running into it and at some point, he accidentally broke it out and lost his balance and fell out of the window."
Nola.com also reported Whaley seemingly aimed for the pool as he told the others they should go swimming before he rammed his right shoulder against the glass. Whaley reportedly did it again and it shattered after that.
The statements of some of the members are not yet fully confirmed as it is unknown if rough-housing was involved. A police spokesman said they are still collecting witness statements.