A 34-year-old mother of two was enjoying lunch with her fiancé in Chicago Thursday when a freak accident occurred. A stone gargoyle statue piece was blown off a church building, striking the woman and killing her almost instantly.
As reported by the Chicago Tribune, Sarah Bean and Lance Johnson, the father of their two sons, were just blocks away from her South Loop home when they walked near the Second Presbyterian Church, a 100-year-old institution. A piece of the gargoyle statue was loosened after a metal piece struck the building. The heavy stone hit Bean atop her head as Johnson screamed in horror next to her.
The Tribune has more:
Bean was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where some family members gathered.
“She was a beautiful person,” Bean’s older brother, Michael Willis, said at the hospital’s emergency room. “This is not good. This is not something you expect, at all.”
The church, a Gothic revival structure at 1936 S. Michigan Ave. built in 1874, failed a string of inspections between 2007 and 2011 for violations including failing to remove obstruction from building exits and failing to maintain an interior stairway system in safe condition, according to the city’s Buildings Department.
All of the building’s outside walls had “fractures, washed out mortar at various locations, spalling (flaking) stone at various locations at (north, south, east and west) tower elevations,” according to a citation record from February 2010.
Despite a string of building violations in the past, the church passed recent inspections including one last year. The reverend of the church offered his condolences, and church will resume as normal this coming Sunday. The reverend also added that he will not reference the incident or the work being done to the building.
Bean and Johnson agreed to finally marry after years of dating and taking care of their fourth-grader and high school freshman boys. Bean worked at a local children’s hospital and was preparing for a late shift that day.