SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP/BCN) – The death of a Hayward man who fell from a pedestrian overpass outside Candlestick Park at the start of the San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday appears to have been a tragic accident, the San Francisco police chief said Monday.
Kevin Hayes, 32, fell from the Jamestown pedestrian walkway shortly before 1:30 p.m., just after the kickoff of the 49ers’ season opener against the Green Bay Packers.
The walkway crosses over Jamestown Avenue to allow fans to access the stadium without walking through traffic, police said.
Hayes was with his brother, and multiple witnesses indicated that he may have been intoxicated at the time of the fall, police said. Off-duty medics and police officers gave Hayes first aid until an ambulance arrived, but he was declared dead at the scene from his injuries.
“It looks like it was just an accidental fall,” SFPD Chief Greg Suhr said. “Alcohol may or may not have played a role to some varying degree, but right now, it just looks like a very sad, tragic accident.”
Mayor Ed Lee said he and other city officials were “devastated by the death and want to make sure everything is inspected properly” on the crossing. He added the death “certainly marred an otherwise fairly happy day for fans,” who saw the 49ers beat the Packers 34-28 in “the last opening game we will see in Candlestick.”
49ers spokesman Bob Lange said the team “would like to express our deepest condolences to the (Hayes) family during this difficult time.”
Also on Sunday, two other NFL fans fell and were injured in an unrelated incident when a railing collapsed at the Colts’ game against the Oakland Raiders in Indianapolis. The injured fans there were leaning against the barrier above the tunnel leading to Oakland’s locker room.
Since 2003, there have been more than two dozen cases of fans falling at stadiums across the United States, according to the Institute for the Study of Sports Incidents. That includes a 2007 fatality at Candlestick Park when a fan in the concession area misjudged a jump up to sit on a wall and fell instead from the upper concourse to the mezzanine level, said Alana Penza, director of the institute.
The historic Candlestick sports complex closes after this season and will be replaced by a shopping center. Next year, the 49ers will move into a $1.2 billion stadium at the team’s Silicon Valley headquarters in Santa Clara.
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