Investigation pending in Georgia Dome deadly fall



ATLANTA - The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office said it was awaiting the results of toxicology tests for a man who died from a 45-foot fall in the Georgia Dome.

Georgia World Congress Center authorities held a press conference Saturday at the dome, where Isaac Grubb fell from the upper-level seating area Friday at about 8:40 p.m. during the North Carolina State vs. University of Tennessee game.

Emergency crews said the 20-year-old Lenoir, Tenn. man fell about 45 feet from the upper level and landed on another person sitting in the mezzanine area. Georgia World Congress Center police said the 34-year-old South Carolina man, whose identity has been withheld, was treated for minor injuries.

GWCC spokeswoman Jennifer Lemaster said dome emergency crews, stationed in four areas of the Dome, were tending to Grubb within moments after his fall despite a witness’ account that said it took EMTs 15 minutes to arrive.

One witness told investigators that the victim was seen drinking alcohol on the dome premises at 5 p.m. None of the vendors inside the dome sold Grubb alcohol, officials said.

“We have a zero tolerance policy for serving minors,” LeMaster said. “We have extensive training on when to cut [patrons] off.” The legal age for buying alcohol in Georgia is 21.

LeMaster said Grubb entered the dome’s upper Gate C at 7:23 p.m. He was celebrating a Tennessee touchdown that happened at 8:23 p.m. when he fell over the railing, Lemaster said.

Officials said EMTs arrived at 8:24 p.m. after responding to an emergency dispatch inside the dome. At 8:28 p.m., additional EMTs arrived before Grubb was carried out of the dome on a gurney at 8:31 p.m. and arrived at Grady Memorial at 8:55 p.m., the spokeswoman said.

The victim who survived his injuries suffered facial lacerations and was taken to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment. He was later released.

LeMaster said 55,529 people were at the Dome for the game. She said deck railing “meets or exceeds the international building code requirement.”

“There’s nothing in our investigation that indicates we need to change anything that we’re currently doing,” LeMaster told the AJC on Saturday. “The safety and security of our fans are paramount,” she said. “It appears to be a tragic accident.”

Fans who were near the man that fell said he was sitting in section 311, behind the endzone.

"Tennessee had scored a touchdown -- I believe it was the second. There were three people who weren't with [our group].  It looked like [the man who fell] was doing a fist pump, and then he was gone over the top," said William Coates, Tennessee fan from Arkansas. "He wasn't moving. His chest was moving a little."

“He was just laying there [in the section below] between rows. It took like 15 minutes for the medical workers to get there."

"Everyone's reaction was kind of really freaked out about what happened," Kellie Wilborn told Channel 2's Tony Thomas. "Everyone tried to run to the side, but security was pushing everyone back and clearing the area out, so people couldn't like look over."

Georgia World Congress Center police, the Fulton County medical examiner's office and the state marshal's office is investigating this case.