|By Jenn Parker and Claudia Lauer, The Sun
News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 6, 2008 --A Kentucky man who fell to his death from a 10th floor balcony was in Myrtle Beach with his girlfriend and other friends for one last vacation before school started.
Daniel Rector, 22, of Richmond, Ky., apparently tumbled backward five floors onto a fifth-floor parking deck early Tuesday morning at Hotel Blue. He had been drinking with several of his friends shortly after midnight before they planned to go out for the evening, according to a police report. Witnesses said he was sitting on a wall when he leaned back, as if he were looking at something, and fell five floors onto the parking deck.
After running down to the fifth floor, witnesses said they found Rector unresponsive, bleeding from the head and mouth and gasping for air. He was pronounced dead at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center at 1:49 a.m.
Rector was a fifth-year senior and a former catcher on the baseball team at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky., according Duane Bonifer, the school's director of public relations.
"On the baseball team, we were a family. This is like losing a brother," Ace Adcock, a fellow baseball player and one of Rector's roommates at college, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "A bunch of players and past players are planning on going to the funeral service to offer our condolences to his family."
Horry County Deputy Coroner Chris Burroughs said the incident appeared to be an accident. He said the official cause of death after a Tuesday afternoon autopsy was blunt force trauma. Toxicology test results are not expected for several weeks.
"I think they were waiting for the elevators and I think [Rector] jumped up on the rail," he said. "When he jumped up on the rail, he lost his balance."
Friends and classmates remembered Rector as a fun-loving and caring person as they sorted through memories and grief Tuesday afternoon.
Arian Fonticiella met Rector when he moved to Kentucky in high school.
"He was pretty much my best friend. I moved to Richmond and I joined the baseball team, and I pretty much didn't know anybody," Fonticiella said. "Daniel took me under his wing, and he introduced me to the other players. He took me under his wing and got me friends. I will never forget or be able to thank him ever enough for everything he did for me when I moved here. He didn't have to do any of that."
Fonticiella remembered Rector as a goofy kid who would make everyone smile.
"He was a genuinely nice and good person, one of few," he said.
Fonticiella said he was on his way to see Rector's mom in Richmond. He said Rector was an only child and the family was devastated by his death. Family members did not wish to comment on Tuesday.
Rector left an impression on fellow baseball players and his coach at the college as well.
"I found out early this morning what had happened. I've been walking around all day thinking about stupid small things, you know. Just small things that made me laugh or smile," Adcock said. "We would have a movie night at the apartment and we would all sit down and watch movies and talk about everything. I mean it's just small things I won't forget."
Adcock said he and the two other students who share the apartment will not fill Rector's space in the apartment because it wouldn't feel right.
Rector had one year left until he finished his communications degree and he was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do when he graduated, Adcock said.
Rector's eligibility for the baseball team had expired, but he was going to help out as an assistant this year, he said.
The university's baseball coach Mike Talley said that Rector was, "a good kid and a good player."
"On the field he was very much a competitor. It's just a tragic loss; he was a good person to be around," Talley said. "The hardest part about today has been calling all of his teammates to tell them the news. It's just, it's hard and it's tragic."Contact JENN PARKER at 444-1702
Portions of this story were first reported at 8:25 a.m. Tuesday on MyrtleBeach Online.com.
Read more about five other falls from hotels that police have responded to -- Page 6A
Police have responded to at least five other falls from hotels this year including two fatal incidents.
Corey Kissling, an 18-year-old from Logan, Ohio, died June 11 after falling from his sixth-floor room at the Sand Castle Resort North.
A 20-year-old New Jersey man was hurt April 22 after police said he jumped from a third-floor balcony into a hotel pool at the Majestic Shores Oceanfront Inn Hotel at 2609 S. Ocean Blvd.
On April 10, a Charlotte, N.C., teenager was hospitalized after falling two floors at the Bayview Motel in Myrtle Beach.
A Largo, Fla., woman died April 7 after falling from a 16th-floor balcony onto a roof covering a pool at the Sands Ocean Club Resort. Police suspected suicide in that death.
A guard rail broke in May, causing a 55-year-old man to fall to his death from a balcony in the Ocean Lakes Family Campground.
Contact CLAUDIA LAUER at 626-0301.
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Copyright (c) 2008, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
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