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Notre Dame Student Declan Sullivan Remembered 1 Year Later

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Declan Sullivan

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CBS) — A year has passed since Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan was killed when a hydraulic lift fell over in the wind, and now, his father is talking publicly about his son’s death.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Sullivan, 20, was videotaping a Fighting Irish football practice on Oct. 27, 2010, when the scissor lift he was atop blew over in a 53 mph wind gust.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports


Declan’s father, Barry Sullivan, and his wife, Alison, have not sued Notre Dame and do not intend to do so. He tells the Chicago Tribune that is not the way he and his wife are wired.

They intend to remember their son with positives, by working to educate people on the safe use of aerial lifts, the Tribune reported.

A memorial to Declan Sullivan has also been set up on the Notre Dame campus, with a plaque, two benches and some trees, the Tribune reported.

Sullivan’s death made headlines for weeks last year. The world saw the tweets he issued just before the fall.

Sullivan, of Long Grove, tweeted his fears about the danger of the wind within an hour of his death.

“Gusts of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work… I guess I’ve lived long enough :-/” Sullivan wrote in one post on Twitter and Facebook.

The sarcasm stopped about an hour later, when he wrote, “Holy f— holy f— this is terrifying.”

This past summer, Notre Dame agreed to pay a $42,000 fine and make a substantial contribution to a memorial to settle a complaint that it committed six safety violations that led to the accident.

The settlement also required Notre Dame to launch a nationwide education program directed at other schools about the hazards of the outdoor use of scissor lifts.

In a 145-page report issued earlier this year, Notre Dame concluded that the football staff was using outdated weather reports when they decided to place Sullivan on a hydraulic scissor lift to videotape football practice, and staff did not know a wind advisory was in effect. The university’s policy prohibited use of the lifts in wind gusts over 35 mph.

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