Fraternity member falls, injures spine

By Nancy Broten

An NIU student was injured Sunday afternoon when he fell 30 feet from a fraternity house fire escape.

Larry Picchiotti, a member and resident of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity house, 503 College Avenue, fell from the fire escape at about 5:30 p.m.

Picchiotti fractured his spine in the fall and was taken to Kishwaukee Community Hospital by the DeKalb Fire Department.

Picchiotti said his injury is a “slight” fracture and said he is now in good condition. Although he will not be allowed to walk for several more days, he will only remain in the hospital until Thursday or Friday, Picchiotti said.

The student said he and other fraternity members had gathered on the fire escape because of the nice weather, as many off-campus students had been doing throughout the weekend.

“We were talking and joking around about the (fraternity) elections which were going to happen the next day, Monday.” Pichiotti said he was a candidate in the elections.

One fraternity member jokingly commented that Pichiotti would not win the election. Pichiotti and the other member began to push each other in a joking manner, he said.

owever, Pichiotti lost his balance and fell off the edge of the landing. He caught the fire escape railing with his hand but cut his wrist in doing so.

“I was hanging onto the railing but then I couldn’t hold on anymore and dropped” from the landing, which is about 30 feet from the ground, Pichiotti said. “It hurt a lot then, but I’m feeling pretty good now,” he added.

Last spring, a similar but more serious accident occurred involving NIU student Jarret Knyal, a member of Phi Kappa Alpha.

Knyal was permanently paralyzed after falling from the roof of a fraternity house at the University of Illinois in Champaign where he and a group of Phi Kappa Alpha members were visiting.