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Door Not Secure Before Steffey's Death

Last updated on Tuesday, July 3, 2007

(WEST LAFAYETTE) - An outside accident reconstruction firm concludes an 18-year-old student was drunk when he wandered into an electrical vault after a frat party and was electrocuted.

But the report on Wade Steffey's death by Rimkus Consulting says the door to the vault wasn't properly locked. The consulting firm says spot checks of doors at other buildings show defective latches that don't really deadbolt the door.

Purdue's lawyers hired the firm to review Steffey's death. The firm says Steffey climbed over or through a rail to reach the unlocked below-ground door. Once inside, reconstructionists say he stuck his finger into a hole in a conductor and received a fatal shock.

Searchers combed Tippecanoe County for two months before Steffey's body was found.

The report doesn't speculate on why Steffey went in the vault in the first place.

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