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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Student Impaled on Bars in Fall From Her Window

September 02, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A USC student was impaled on wrought-iron security bars Friday after falling from her second-story apartment in an off-campus housing complex, police said.

Daniella Davenhauer, 18, was taken, with the window bars still embedded in her body, to County-USC Medical Center, where she was recovering Friday from soft tissue damage, said Lt. Art Blair of the school's Department of Public Safety.

She was in fair condition at County-USC Medical Center after undergoing surgery, said Jasmine Barrera, a hospital spokeswoman.

The accident happened about 1 a.m. at a University Village apartment complex at 3131 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles fire dispatchers said.

The young woman was sitting on her bed and leaning against a screen when it broke, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Peter Casey.

The security bars were covering a first-floor apartment window and protruded about 6 inches, Blair said. Other residents in the apartment called campus police and 911 when they heard her screaming, he said.

Fellow students came to her aid by holding her up until authorities arrived so that her own body weight did not cause more damage, Blair said. When campus police first arrived, they thought she was just caught on the bars, he said. It wasn't until an officer went into the apartment that they saw from the inside that she was impaled on two of the iron bars--one on each side of her spine, he said.

The student remained lucid through the ordeal and listened to the instructions of police and medics.

"She was a trooper," Blair said. "She remained incredibly calm. She's got two prongs in her. This has got to hurt."

Los Angeles firefighters were able to cut the bars as police continued to hold her up. They used the bars as a makeshift stretcher and carried her to a waiting gurney, Blair said. "Had she not caught the way she did," she could have landed on her head, Blair said.

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