PD: NKU student fell down brewery elevator shaft

Posted at 4:19 PM, Sep 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-30 16:19:07-04

CINCINNATI -- A Northern Kentucky University student fell down an elevator shaft while she and three classmates were wandering around Cincinnati's old Hudepohl brewery Tuesday evening, police said.

Kathy Tuttle, 19, suffered a leg injury and was transported to University Hospital, police said.

Tuttle and the others - William Tharp, Clair Poirier and McKenzie Manley - broke into the Queensgate building to take photos, according to Cincinnati police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy.

All four have been charged with trespassing, Hardy said.

Tuttle fell 10 to 12 feet, rescuers said.

"It took us about a half-hour to extricate her," District Fire Chief Greg Potter said. "We had to use ladders to get down to her down to the elevator shaft for our guys to get down there. They started treatment on her right away, and then we had to set up a tripod and stokes basket evolution to raise her up the shaft."

Police say it's not uncommon to find curiosity seekers breaking into the abandoned brewery complex.

"We usually try to patrol these properties a little more often than we do the regular properties around here," Police Officer Kenneth Hall said. "Because, like I said, we do have a problem with kids coming in out of curiosity, Googling the place on the computer and trying to come over here and take pictures, because they think it's cool."

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority has efforted to secure the property since buying it in May 2014, spokesperson Gail Paul told WCPO.

 "The Port Authority installed security fencing and razor wire shortly after we took ownership, and posted No Trespassing signs that warn of the properties danger. To date we have spent upwards of $12,000 on these materials to secure the site," Paul said. "Last year, we paid an engineering firm to have the condition of the smokestack evaluated,  and also pay for regular site maintenance. We make a visual inspection of the properties weekly, looking for breaches in the fencing and evidence of vandalism."

The Port Authority plans for the property to be part of a future industrial hub called the South Mill Creek Corridor. The overall area is made up of more than 1,000 acres of former industrial space in Queensgate and Camp Washington.