Wade Steffey found dead - electrocution was cause of death

News report I read said it did look as if he tripped and fell. Also said the door required two keys for entry. And that the kid was intoxicated at the time, and was trying to get back into the dorm to retrieve his coat.

I’m really sorry to hear about your friend, Argent. It makes my flesh crawl to think how easily something like this could have happened to me or people I knew in college. I don’t know if anyone knows at this point how the door came to be unlocked, but if Steffey just found it unlocked, then he just made a tragic error in (drunken) judgment.

And I don’t want to be out of line here, but Autolycus, are you listening?

Thanks for the kind words. I didn’t know the guy very well but some of my friends were very close with him. The community as a whole has felt the loss. I feel so bad for his parents, every time I see them on the news. They seem like great people, and I can’t even imagine how they must feel right now.

Every year it seems like someone I went to school with dies, and more often than not the cause is some kind of reckless behavior - driving or riding a motorcycle too fast and carelessly, drowning in the lake after drinking too much - things that could have been avoided with more caution. But Steffey did not seem like the “I’m young and invincible” type, not in the least. Even if he had been drinking, I think whoever left that door unlocked and unlabeled is more at fault than he was.

I’m against over-eager litigating, and there’s no substitute for common sense, but I do think this incident calls for a lawsuit. The proceeds could establish a fund for Aviation students in Steffey’s name.

The bacteria got fried too? At a guess. No intestinal bacteria = no rot, basically.

I’ve seen many a “double locked door” that was always left open, or with the keys in the locks. Just open is more frequent. Machines that had been designed to need two operators (or both hands) but which had been twiddled to require only one? Quite a few. Safety systems don’t work right unless you use them properly, just like anything else. Very drunk guy + open door + humming machine that looks like nothing he’s ever seen before = funeral.

Argent, my condolences to you and his family. :frowning: What a senseless tragedy.

What kind of a piss poor search team did they have out there if he was found 50 yards from where he was last seen? A month of searching and nobody canvased an area the size of a football field from where he was last seen? Really?

Perhaps that old joke about the Purdue Engineering Department botching the library job isn’t so far off the mark.

My thoughts exactly. They had trained dogs, police officers, and many volunteers, and yet two months of searching turned up nothing. The body was discovered by accident.

In a room that someone had actually looked in, no less. From the press conference it’s not clear just how closely they looked, though. Apparently you couldn’t see where he was from standing in either doorway. What a nighmare for his parents. You could tell his dad had been crying, and his mom looked totally numb.

Even though he died instantly, it’s heartbreaking that he was right there in that building the whole time. I feel the same way Rilch does. It seems easy to imagine his state of mind that night too. He could have been thinking of how cool it was going to be to have a story about how he ninja’ed his way in. Maybe he got shot down at the party and was just fixated on getting his coat back so he could call it a night. Either way, he probably didn’t even know what hit him. I’m under the impression that this could have just as easily happened to a facilities worker accidentally bumping the equipment while passing through the room for some mundane reason.

Looking at the Purdue news site, there’s also a headline about another student who got killed in a car accident. Never ends, huh? :frowning:

My bosses daughter goes to school there and she knew him - he told me about this yesterday. So sad… :frowning:

Oh–and my study buddy from psychology shot her husband dead. Once in front as he faced her, once in the back as he lay dying. She wasn’t a Purdue student anymore when it happened, though.


Got my hands on a copy of the Purdue Exponent and found my answer to why he didn’t smell: electricity was running through him the whole time. He was found when a janitor heard a “popping” noise in the room.

That explains why he didn’t smell of decomposition, at least. :confused:

I read this on CNN, and was also amazed that someone had checked the room, but something about didn’t walk all the way in because they didn’t want to be near the transformers or something. How far into the room had he stumbled to be not noticeable? And if he walked into the room by mistake, how did the door get closed behind him? I guess it could have been one that closes on its own though. Like everyone else said, way to go, top-notch search teams they had… He was in an unlocked room of his dorm being electrocuted for two months. And no one thought to check there? :smack:

Yeah, wouldn’t he smell of, uh, fried?

How does a continuous current prevent it smelling? :confused:

Would it be that the right electrical flow may get the flesh “cured”, as it were, specially if it’s in a dry environment? Damn this is awful. I feel for the Purdue community and the family.

I don’t know about the electricity specifically, but this article has a few words from a professor of entomology at Purdue:

I confess that I’m morbidly curious, but I don’t feel right about asking about it here. I started up a GQ thread on the issue.

What sort of Frankenstein lab was this transformer room? Unless an electrician left a panel off, or a hatch open, there’s normally not any “Casually touch this and die” stuff exposed for someone to bump into.

I’ve been in electrical rooms in buildings ranging in size from decrepit 6-flat apartment buildings to 4000-student capacity schools and even a telephone switching office or two, and yes, there are enormous hulking lumps and a pervasive hum and there’s conduits and overhead busways, and panels festooned with lights, switches and meters, but nothing in its normal condition that could shock you if you brushed against it.

I know I’m going to hell for this, but I keep picturing his last words as “It’s OK, I’m Homer Simps–!”

Will Purdue bill his family for all this wasted electricity?

My thoughts exactly.

The poor family.

At least he died quickly and he will probably come back to haunt future students in that hall, so that is a perk.