Drugs, alcohol mix played role in fan’s death

Published 1:26 am Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DENVER (AP) — A mixture of marijuana and alcohol played a role in the death of a man who fell from a stairway during a Colorado Rockies game, according to an autopsy report released Monday.

The report from the Denver medical examiner’s office shows Robert Seamans had marijuana in his system and a 0.19 percent blood-alcohol level, which is more than twice the legal limit for driving. The report said the drug and alcohol mix was a “significant” contributing factor in the 27-year-old’s death.

Seamans, of Pueblo, was trying to slide down a stair railing at Coors Field during the seventh inning of a May 24 game between the Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to the autopsy report, he fell between 20 and 30 feet and struck his head on concrete. He was declared brain dead about 12 hours later on May 25, and his organs were harvested for donation.

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Rockies spokesman Jay Alves said fans’ security safety is the team’s No. 1 priority. Railings at the stadium, which opened in 1995, comply with Denver’s building code, Alves said.

Although Seamans’ death did not prompt a special review of safety at the stadium, “we’re always observing and reviewing what we do at Coors Field to make it safe for our fans,” Alves said.

No one answered a phone Monday at a number listed for a relative of Seamans in southern Colorado, and another number listed for a family member was disconnected. Seamans’ family previously declined comment.

Seamans’ death is the second this season at a Major League Baseball ballpark involving railings designed to prevent fans from falling.

Officials at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, said they plan to make railings at the front of seating sections 42 inches high, 16 inches above the minimum required by city code, after a fan fell to his death July 7 while catching a ball at a Texas Rangers game.

Shannon Stone, a Brownwood, Texas, firefighter, died less than an hour after he tumbled headfirst over a left field railing. He was reaching to catch a ball tossed his way by All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton when he fell about 20 feet to concrete behind the outfield wall at the 17-year-old ballpark.

Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney had no immediate comment on any concerns raised by the two deaths this season. He issued a statement that said clubs constantly review policies and procedures.

It was unclear whether Seamans had purchased alcohol at Coors Field before his fall.

Alves said the Rockies have a program to deal with intoxicated fans but declined to discuss details other than to say the ballclub bans alcohol sales after the seventh inning.