Orientation leader struck by tree limb while giving campus tours

by Sarah McKenzie

A giant tree branch fell on a 22-year-old University student last week, interrupting an otherwise-routine campus tour with 50 parents of next year’s freshman class.
Kelly Lucas, coordinator of freshman parent orientations for the Office of Admissions, said the branch — nearly 20 feet long and one foot wide — clobbered her while she was walking between Vincent and Smith halls on the grassy portion of Northrop Mall.
Lucas said she suffered a sprained left arm and a broken left foot from the hurtling branch. An ambulance transported her to Fairview-University Medical Center, where she was treated and released later in the evening.
According to police reports, the accident occurred on June 22 shortly after 4 p.m. Severe weather, including heavy rain and wind during the incident, is to blame for breaking the bough.
The parent group, walking on the sidewalk next to the orientation leader, immediately rushed to her aid and called University Police on cellular phones after the accident, she said.
“I went from being the boss of the day to being everyone’s kid,” Lucas said, who took the rest of the week off from work.

In other police news:
ù Hennepin County divers recovered the body of a 21-year-old man from the Mississippi river Sunday night, after he had reportedly spent the evening drinking with friends near campus.
Minneapolis police said Raymudo Morales Nunez of St. Paul, who is not affiliated with the University, was drinking near the University river flats area.
Alcohol might have been a factor in the incident, police said.
According to information released from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Nunez was found just south of the Lake Street Bridge at 11:04 p.m.
The cause of death appears to be accidental drowning, according to the medical examiner’s office.

ù A 21-year-old man was swindled out of $350 by a man asking for assistance in cashing checks, according to a University Police report.
Andrew Nicholas Gocrik was offered money in exchange for giving the suspect a ride, the report stated. After driving the man around the Seven Corners and Broadway and 26th Avenue areas, the St. Paul man gave the thief $350 so he could cash several checks to pay for the ride.
The swindler never returned.

ù A 38-year-old woman was jailed after rummaging through an office at the Phillips-Wangensteen Building on June 22, according to a University Police report.
The St. Paul woman was arrested on an outstanding warrant for felony drug possession.
When clinic staff confronted the woman while she was rifling through jackets and lab coats in the clinic office, police said she told the staff she was looking for her brother. She left, but told clinic staff she would be back to pick up her brother.
When she returned, the woman reportedly told officers at the scene that she was looking for her husband. After discovering the felony warrant, the officers arrested and booked her at Hennepin County Jail.

ù A thief stole a 25-year-old University senior’s purse while she was studying outside of Williamson Hall last Thursday, University Police said.
The purse contained an electronic planner, five credit cards, a calling card, several checks and the woman’s birth certificate, according to a University Police report.