Smith Hall chemical explosion victim in satisfactory condition

by K.C. Howard

The University graduate student severely burned in the chemical explosion Tuesday in Smith Hall has been identified as Jason Mulder, a doctoral candidate in the chemistry department.

Mulder dropped a beaker of ether on a heated surface, causing a minor flash explosion beneath a chemical fume hood, police said.

Witnesses who saw Mulder walk out of the building after the explosion said he suffered severe burns from the waist down.

Mulder was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center’s burn unit and was in satisfactory condition Wednesday afternoon.

Hospital officials anticipate Mulder will remain hospitalized for the next two weeks, according to police reports.

In other police news:

Two women were injured when a cyclist and pedestrian collided Saturday on Pleasant and Arlington Streets.

Tatum Marie Fjerstad, 18, was riding her bicycle at 12:30 p.m. northbound on Pleasant Street, when police said she failed to stop at the Arlington intersection stop sign and collided with a student pedestrian.

Police said Jennifer Lee Freese, 22, was in the crosswalk heading west across Pleasant Street when Fjerstad hit her.

Freese suffered minor head injuries and refused medical assistance. Fjerstad had no visible injuries but told police the crash affected her vision. She was transported to North Memorial Medical Center.

University police officials said bike accidents happen frequently on campus. To avoid future collisions, police warn trekkers and cyclists to never assume they have the right of way and to look both ways before crossing the street.

A University student and his 19-year-old friend were cited for stealing a “no parking” sign Tuesday afternoon on 21st Avenue and Fourth Street Southeast.

University police officer Aaron Churness noticed one of the males trying to hide a sign under his jacket.

When the officer approached them, one of the suspects dropped two nuts on the ground, according to police reports. An open backpack revealing several tools prompted the officer to question the suspects, University police Capt. Steve Johnson said.

They were cited for theft and released.

K.C. Howard welcomes comments at [email protected]