Wrongful Death Lawsuit Considered in Tower Death

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On March 28, 28-year-old Stephanie Gurney of San Angelo, Texas, fell off an SBA Communications tower. While the woman was not a tower climber herself, it’s been reported that her boyfriend worked for a local tower company. San Angelo LIVE! reported, “According to the report from Concho County Deputy Sheriff Abel Quezada, Gurney, her 30-year-old boyfriend Stephen Butler, and his boss, 40-year-old Joseph Grimes, were out at a tower roughly 10 miles west of Eden on March 28 climbing to evaluate Gurney’s ability.” Grimes told the deputy he was watching the woman to see if she would be suitable for employment with his company, Jostan Communications, and went through safety measures on the ground before they got on the tower. “After his own climb up, Grimes made it safely back to the ground first and was on the phone when he heard a horrific scream from Butler. He then heard Gurney hit the ground after a fall from high above. They immediately dialed 911,” San Angelo LIVE! explained. While Gurney was wearing a harness, it seems that it was not hooked properly. Gurney’s mother has now hired an attorney to look into the possible negligence causing the wrongful death of her daughter. No lawsuit has been filed, but Big Spring attorney Robert Miller has been hired to represent plaintiff Lisa Weatherby and has been collecting documents to build his case to determine whether Grimes was authorized to use the tower in the first place.

“How the system works is SBA owns the tower,” attorney Robert Miller told San Angelo LIVE! “They then lease to tenants, kind of like an apartment, and these tenants have equipment that’s on these towers for communications or whatever. And then those tenants have to hire somebody to maintain them if they quit or get lightning strikes or something like that, and this is where this Jostan [comes in]…they, evidently, I am surmising because I don’t know, are the repair type people. Those towers are locked up and there’s a combination lock to get in.” There were two sets of gates each with padlocks, one being from SBA, who claims they don’t know who Jostan Communications is. Asked whether or not he was authorized to use the tower that day, Grimes responded, “That is not being disclosed yet…that information should be in the police report….as of right now, that information is being held off.” (San Angelo LIVE!)

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