SM2 reporters Charlie Luttrell,Abigail Troth, Ben Milburn, Charles Arnold, Mary Murphy and Kyra Lampley contributed to this report.
Content Warning: the following story contains graphic content
A University of Southern Mississippi student has died hours after falling from the fifth floor of the parking garage on Wednesday night.
“This morning, our hearts are breaking as we regretfully inform you of the death of a Southern Miss student following last night’s incident near the parking garage on the Hattiesburg campus,” USM President Rodney Bennett and Vice President for Student Affairs Dee Dee Anderson wrote in a statement released to students. “As longtime university staff members and as the parents of college-aged students, we sympathize with the significant and serious nature of stress and anxiety felt by students. We want each of you to know that you have significant value, we value your health and well-being, and we care for you.”
The University Police Department suspects no criminal activity, and is still actively investigating the incident. Meanwhile, students who were present at the parking garage during the event share their stories.
Southern Miss student Asha Brunfield and her friend were in the parking garage on the third floor when they saw two cars collide with each other.
They ran to help both drivers of the accident, who got out of their cars without injuries. Brunfield said a male driver got back into his car and left the scene, going to the top floor of the parking garage. Brunfield said the other car in the accident followed him to the top.
“Next thing you know, we were walking and trying to see everything that was going on and make sure everything was okay and we heard these girls screaming,” Brunfield said. “We ran up to see what’s going on now and that’s when we saw a guy laying on the ground.”
Brunfield and other witnesses called the police and checked on the student. Brunfield said the student was alive at the scene and was then transported to the hospital by the ambulance.
Anyone in need of mental health assistance can contact Student Counseling Services in Bond Hall, where counselors are available 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 today. SCS is also available at 601-266-4829.
If you are concerned about a friend, classmate, or anyone who is part of the Southern Miss community, you may anonymously complete a CARES report. If your concern requires immediate assistance, call University Police at 601-266-4986.
The University also offers an Employee Assistance Program for faculty and staff. Through the EAP, highly trained clinicians will listen to concerns and help you or your family members with any issues, including anxiety, depression and stress.
Other available resources include The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255, and The National Grad Crisis Line, available at 1-877-472-3457.
This is a developing story, and will be updating accordingly.