Gerald Belz Biography – Gerald Belz Wiki
The mother of a University of Iowa student who died in last year’s polar vortex filed a wrongful death lawsuit last week, alleging the college was negligent in locking the exterior doors to her son’s resident hall without notifying students.
Gerald Belz’s mother claimed in the lawsuit that the university locked the exterior doors to Burge Hall, preventing students from entering the building’s vestibules without a student ID. She also claimed the college didn’t inform students of this change and failed to have personnel located at entrances in case someone needed aid, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
University police found Belz, 18, dead behind Halsey Hall, approximately a six-minute walk from his residence hall. He was discovered the morning after a polar vortex hit Iowa City — where the wind chill reached 50 degrees below zero.
Typically, Burge Hall’s exterior doors were unlocked, but interior doors were locked and a student ID was required to open. Allegedly, the dormitory’s exterior doors providing access to the entrance were locked in the middle of the pole vortex “to prevent the pipes from freezing in the entrance area”.
Court documents stated that Belz left Burge Hall after 12.45 pm. Movement cameras were unable to catch the young man who left the dormitory, while surveillance footage at 01:09 reportedly showed him trying to re-enter the building.
“[Belz] knocked wildly on the [locked] door to get the attention of someone who could help him get into the building. According to KCCI, no one came to Gerald’s aid, and the surveillance video caught him falling on the floor in front of the door in the northwest corner of Burge Hall.
Belz would be found dead in about 90 minutes. His death was ultimately considered an accident.
The University of Iowa, the state of Iowa and the Board of Trustees are listed as defendants in the case. The college declined to comment on the pending case.