Father Says U Of I Student’s Death Was Tragic Accident Unrelated To St. Patrick’s Party

(CBS) – A Chicago area family is grieving the loss of a 23-year-old University of Illinois student who fell to his death on one of the biggest annual party days on campus.

But the father of Jonathan Morales says his son’s death was a tragic accident and not caused by the campus party.

“This was a tragic accident — tragic is an understatement,” Rudy Morales tells CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar in a telephone interview.

The coroner says Morales, who was from Franklin Park, died from injuries caused by falling from a fourth-floor apartment balcony.

The elder Morales says: “He was on his balcony, and I guess he was talking to someone across the balcony to somebody else and he just slipped and fell over.”

Jonathan Morales died during what is considered one of the biggest party days on campus: “Unofficial” St. Patrick’s Day. In all, three people have died during the celebration in recent years.

“Basically, you wake up, you do your daily routine, take a shower, brush your teeth, and you get to drinking,” U of I student Lance Dumont says.

U of I’s chancellor says in a statement: “Going forward, we must find a way to work together as a community to end this event and avoid more senseless tragedy.”

Still, the father of Jonathan Morales says the event has nothing to do with his son’s death.

“It could have been any day of the year. It just happened to fall on that day,” he says.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help the family with funeral arrangements.

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