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Two Ky. Students Killed in Fall

May 2, 2002

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) _ Two college students died early Thursday after they fell out a third-story window at a University of Kentucky dormitory while wrestling, a school spokeswoman said.

Jeffrey Pfetzer, a 19-year-old University of Kentucky freshman from Villa Hills, was pronounced dead at the scene. Matthew Rzepka, 22, of Bowling Green, who was visiting his brother at the 23-story Kirwan Tower, died later at the University of Kentucky Hospital.

``The two males were apparently wrestling in an open area of the third floor of the dormitory,″ spokeswoman Mary Margaret Colliver said. ``They smacked against a plate glass window, the window gave out and the two fell three stories to the ground.″

She said she didn’t know if alcohol played a factor in the accident, which happened around 2:30 a.m. The window was a sealed, double-pane window, roughly 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall. It was covered with plywood after the accident.

Kim Fesmire, an 18-year-old freshman from Paducah, said she was sleeping in her fourth-floor room when she was awakened by the commotion.

``It was chaos _ people yelling and screaming and crying ... just running everywhere,″ she said.

Both of the men died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to coroner’s reports. Rzepka had been a student at Western Kentucky University until the summer of 2001.

Lindsey Cooper, an 18-year-old freshman from Dayton, Ohio, was studying for a biology exam in her 17th floor dorm room at the time and said other students were drifting in from the library.

``Then this just happened out of nowhere. It’s awful,″ she said.

A steady stream of students poured out of the dorm Thursday morning with boxes, lamps, televisions and radios in tow to go home for the summer. Many wiped away streams of tears as they comforted each other.

University of Kentucky President Lee Todd and his wife went to the scene before 3 a.m. to comfort witnesses.

``As a parent, you dread that phone call at 2:30 in the morning like I got,″ Todd said. ``Your heart just goes out to those two families.″

At Ohio’s Denison University, a 17-year-old girl fell to her death from a fourth-floor dormitory window early Saturday. Alcohol was ruled out as a factor in her death, investigators said.

Anne Thomson of Lake Forest, Ill., had been visiting her sister at the school and stayed awake for about 24 hours. Investigators speculated that Thomson was fatigued and had gotten up in the night to go to the bathroom and mistook the fourth-floor hallway window for her bed.

The window sill and bed were the same height, and a heating unit in front of the open window was about the same height as a step used to get into her bed, said Bruce Myers, a Licking County deputy sheriff.

The college of about 2,000 students is in Granville, 35 miles east of Columbus.


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