TSU Police investigate student’s neck injury

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 8, 1999

Managing Editor

Dec. 7, 1999 10 PM

Troy State University police are continuing their investigation of a Dec. 3 accident that has left a TSU freshman and Troy resident paralyzed.

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Steven "Nick" Stokes, 18, a graduate of Pike Liberal Arts School and freshman at TSU was injured in the early morning hours of Dec. 3 behind the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity House on the TSU campus. The injury occurred between 1:30 and 2 a.m., according to police.

According to Troy State University Assistant Chief of Police Rod Anderson, Stokes’ family reported Monday that he was in intensive care after an operation at Baptist Medical Center in Montgomery.

"I spoke with his mother Monday and all she could say is that he has some tingling, but does not have full movement at this point," Anderson said. He characterized the injury as an injury to the back of the neck and the spine.

Anderson said the cause of the injury is under investigation, and that the TSU Police Department is checking all angles of the incident.

"My number one priority is to research this thing and to feel assured that this was an accident an that there was no fault by anyone for the injury," Anderson said. "We have talked to several witnesses and to members of the fraternity and we are trying to rule out that there was any wrong doing on anyone’s part."

From witness reports, Anderson said, he can only say that Stokes jumped and came down wrong, landing on the back of his head or neck.

Anderson underwent surgery Friday for the damage, and surgeons are describing the operation as successful according to a TSU press release.

John W. Schmidt, vice president of student affairs at TSU, said the investigation is ongoing, the press release reported.

"Anytime there is an injury at or near a fraternity house to a pledge, you have got to be concerned about that," Anderson said. "We are just trying to carefully look into this and satisfy ourselves that the fraternity was not involved and that this was a simple accident. Still, we are not ready to make any ruling or determination at this time pending further investigation."

According to TSU Police Chief Alan Boothe, there was no official fraternity function going on at the time of the injury.

Surgeons at Baptist Medical Center are asking that Nick be remembered in prayer during his recovery, the TSU press release reported.