RIT student dies after fall from third-floor balcony

Posted at: 11/09/2012 2:22 PM
Updated at: 11/09/2012 11:15 PM
By: Ray Levato and Amanda Ciavarri

A sophomore at RIT dies as a result of fall at an off-campus party and News10NBC is learning more about what happened right before the fall.

The accident happened nearly two weeks ago at an off campus apartment building on John Street. Monroe County Sheriffs Deputies say 19-year-old Alexander Ketchek was attempting to climb an outside wall of the apartment building when he fell and suffered serious injuries. He died Thursday
Three other teens who threw the party are accused of providing the alcohol.
Matthew Gibson, John Dong, and Eric Brown are all charged with unlawfully dealing with a child.

The court paperwork says Ketchek was at a party in the apartment building with a group of friends. Witnesses say he was drinking, but that he didn't appear to be drunk. News10NBCspoke with one of his friends.    

Matthew Kern said, “He wanted to climb up the side of the province building, he's done it before.”

Matthew Kern says he told Alexander Ketchek that scaling the outside of the Province Apartment Building was a bad idea. Witnesses say Ketchek was trying to reach the third floor landing and then he slipped. Kern says his legs were dangling as he tried to pull himself up.

Kern said, “It was a little wet out. By the time,  he got up to the third floor,  he just lost his grip and came right down on the sidewalk there.”

Kern stayed with his friend until paramedics arrived.

Kern said, “All we could get out of him was labored breathes, and we were just telling him it was going to be alright.”

Witnesses say Ketchek was drinking before he tried climbing the building but Kern says drinking wasn't the issue.  

Kern said, “I can tell you he would have done this if he wasn't drinking. He wasn't drunk at all.”

Alexander Ketchek's father said his son was an accomplished climber who conquered many of the highest peaks in the Adirondacks.  Climbing was his passion.

Kern said, “He loved to climb. He always talks about urban exploring and stuff like that. We were always amazed at how high he would get himself in trees and stuff like that. He was just a really great guy, he had such an amazing spirit and he we are never going to forget him.”

Many of the students at the party were underage. And one of the three who hosted the party, claims the alcohol was purchased by two older friends so more charges could be filed.    

Teens charged

Three other teens have been charged with serving alcohol at the party where all of this happened. They are 19-year-old Matthew Gibson, 18-year-old John Dong and 19-year-old Eric Brown. All are charged with unlawfully dealing with a child.

Police say the three were the hosts of the party where Ketchek fell and they were serving alcohol to minors.

According to officials, Matthew Gibson did sign a voluntary police statement that he was giving people margaritas at his apartment, where the party was being held.

All three teens were given appearance tickets. There's no word yet if any further charges will be filed.