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Bears Death Ruled an Accident

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Parents of a Woodstock man who fell to his death at Soldier Field Sunday say their son was loyal to friends, family.

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The death of a 23-year-old Woodstock man who fell from Soldier Field on Sunday has been ruled as accidental, though the exact circumstances surrounding the fall remain unclear.

By all accounts, life was good for Stuart Haverty, who attended Sunday's match-up between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles with his boss and with whom he exchanged high-fives prior to halftime.

"He was happy as a clam and his job was getting better all the time," Haverty's father, Patrick Haverty, said outside the family home on Monday.

Haverty fell from a balcony between two columns on the west side of the stadium and onto a flat roof about 35 feet below shortly before 5 p.m.  He was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital about 30 minutes later.

Rumors quickly spread at the stadium that the man had run and jumped off the balcony, but police at the scene said they believed the death was an accident.

Haverty's family said there was no way the 2006 Woodstock High School graduate would have intentionally hurt himself. 

"It's a tragic, unfortunate accident," said Soldier Field spokesman Luca Serra, adding that the incident was the first of its kind since completion of a major renovation of the 63,500 stadium seven years ago.

An autopsy on Monday found that Haverty died of multiple injuries from a fall from height and the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the death as accidental.

Despite published reports, Haverty's parents said their son wasn't into rock or wall climbing but instead enjoyed Frisbee golf.  He was also an avid Bears fan who set up "stadium seating" in his living room, a friend told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"He was the best.  You hate to like one child over the other, but he was really sweet,"  said Patrick Haverty.  "He was with us on Thanksgiving [and] probably the best memory I have is that he gave me a hug on the way out the door."

The Bears Organization on Monday released a statement on Haverty's death:

"The Chicago Bears are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic accident that claimed the life of Stuart Haverty yesterday. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. They will be in our prayers during this difficult time."

SMG, the company that runs Soldier Field for the Chicago Park District, said it does not plan immediately plan to make any safety changes to the field.
 

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