University of Illinois Student Dies During Unofficial St. Patrick's Day Drinking Event

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A student from the University of Illinois died on Friday during the campus’ “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” event, PEOPLE reports.

Jonathon Morales, 23, of Franklin Park, Illinois, fell off his fourth-floor balcony and hit the concrete courtyard in his apartment complex, according to Champaign police Sgt. Dennis Baltzell.

“He was on that balcony messing around somehow and accidentally went over,” Baltzell says.

The results from his autopsy and toxicology report will take a few weeks, but Baltzell said Morales “had been drinking” at his apartment with his friends who were visiting for the event known as “Unofficial.”

MORE: Northwestern Basketball Player Jordan Hankins' Cause of Death Revealed

This is the school’s third death in relation to Unofficial. A woman was killed in 2006 during a motorcycle crash and a man died in 2011 after two cars hit him, according to Robin Kaler, university spokesman.

The university, police and city have been trying to rein in the event for years. They have police officers talk to students about the dangers of drinking, they raise the age patrons can enter bars to 21 that day from 18 or 19 the rest of the year, limit alcohol sales and even send letters to parents to encourage them to talk to their children about their behavior.

“We would like very much for it to never happen again,” Kaler says of Unofficial. “It’s a danger to our students …We lost a young man. That’s absolutely tragic.”

Morales was a junior studying communication at the university and according to his teachers was “always engaged, smiling and respectful.”


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Sarah Halper |

After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications as well as Sports Management, Sarah Halper has put plenty of time and effort in perfecting her reporting skills. She is a true pop culture enthusiast at heart, which makes for a wide variety of knowledge. When she isn’t consuming timely news, you can find her enjoying her favorite sporting events and eating her way through Chicago.