Father of WSU student who fell out dorm window demands better safety features

A Seattle father wants immediate action after his son fell out of a window at a WSU dorm last week.

"And I told him, don't fall out of a window. And he laughed. And he said yeah, right dad. I can't believe it," said Jim Gray.

Two weeks after dropping his freshman son off at Washington State University, Matthew Gray is back in Seattle, now in critical care.

"My kid's laying up in a bed. And I don't know if he's gonna wake up. And if he does wake up, I don't know what kind of kid I'm going to get back," said Jim Gray.

Early Thursday morning his son fell from the second story window of his room at Duncan Dunn Hall. Police say he'd been drinking. Gray says even if that were a factor, the problem is the windows themselves.

"Not only are the windows unsafe, they've made it easy for kids to fall out of these windows," he said.

The windows slide up and there's a bench at the base. There were no safety features added to the windows during a $24.6 million renovation completed in 2012.

"The design team paid special attention to the historic details in the buildings, while incorporating new details and spaces, including study spaces to maintain the feel of the original era," according to the school's website. 

Now, there's a petition with more than 6,000 signatures as of Monday night, calling for safer windows on all residence halls.

"We are aware of the petition and are reviewing it," said Matthew Haugen with the university's communications office.

It's unclear whether any safety changes were implemented after an incident at Orton Hall in 2012. A 22-year-old student fell out a window and dropped 11 stories. Trees broke his fall and he survived. Police determined alcohol was not a factor in that incident.

Gray remembered the good times as he pored over pictures of his son who volunteered at a cancer camp every year. Now, it's other giving back, with an outpouring of support for Matthew Gray and his family.

"It's overwhelming, how many people have stepped up for us," said Jim Gray.

A GoFundMe page has topped $38,000 so far. It's money he hopes to put toward Matthew Gray's recovery.

"He used to row crew for Green Lake, so he's a huge fighter," he said. "I know he's up there fighting now, but I don't know if it's going to be enough."

So he's asking for prayers. Anything, he says, to help him bring his son home. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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