Lockport man hurt in fall at Starved Rock
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org July 16, 2012 6:44PM
Updated: August 18, 2012 6:25AM
A 21-year-old Lockport man who fell 35 to 40 feet into a canyon Sunday at Starved Rock State Park was critically injured, and his friends face charges for possessing alcohol in a restricted area, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said Monday.
“They were consuming alcohol. We strongly discourage that at any of our parks. Obviously, in this particular case, we believe it was a contributing factor,” spokesman Chris McCloud said.
It’s not clear how Andrew Dusek fell into French Canyon on Sunday afternoon, but he was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Peoria, McCloud said. Further information about Dusek’s condition or injuries was not immediately available Monday.
Three men and one woman, all from Lockport, were charged with having alcohol in a restricted area and entering a restricted area, McCloud said. John Strickland, 21, Vincent Piazza, 20, Gerard Ziomek, 20, and Tracy Wagner, 20, were charged, McCloud said.
The accident happened about 4:30 p.m., and an investigation is under way, he said.
Ziomek told Illinois Conservation Police he fell 30 feet but was not injured, McCloud said. Police were escorting Ziomek out of the park when they were approached by a woman who told them her husband, an emergency medical technician, was giving emergency medical treatment to Dusek on the floor of French Canyon.
The accident, McCloud said, serves as a reminder for people to abide by park rules.
“It’s not about curbing their fun. It’s for their safety, staying on marked trails,” he said.
“Being sober helps you with better judgement and keeps you in positions where you are in control,” McCloud said. “We see this every year. It’s unfortunate because it’s one of those things that can be prevented.”