Ann Arbor teen falls to death from parking structure during stunt

- An Ann Arbor family is mourning after a horrifying accident.  A 15-year-old was trying a daring stunt when he fell to his death.

His high school was closed for Election Day and he was with his friends at the seventh floor of the Thayer Street Parking structure on the University of Michigan campus. 

At about 3 p.m. Tuesday, Ben Pierce, a sophomore at Ann Arbor's Huron High School, walked to the edge.

"He stepped on the wall and there was a ledge on the outside," said his father, Steve Pierce. "He stepped on that ledge, grabbed onto a sign, leaned back over top of an alley that was seven floors down, and the sign gave way."

Tragically, in a split second, Ben was gone at the young age of 15. 

"He had a strong commitment to helping others he loved people and people loved him he had a zest for life," Steve Pierce said. "And he had high aspirations about going to a helping profession."

St. Luke Church in Ann Arbor held a vigil Wednesday for the many teens who knew Ben. Huron High School also had grief counselors at school on the day after his death.

"I think they did a really nice job 'cause we all got to come together and grieve, but also remember him and remember what kind of a great kid he was," said Olivia Boudeette, a senior at Huron High School.

University of Michigan police are ruling Ben's fall was accidental and that none of his friends with him shared any responsibility for the tragedy that happened.

"I talked with both of his friends," Steve Pierce said. "Ben was an adventurer so I strongly believe that the way they said it, is the way it happened and I don't assess blame on the friends or the university."

Visitation for Ben Pierce is scheduled for Friday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Muehlig Funeral Chapel, 403 S. 4th Ave. Ann Arbor.

The Funeral service is 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov 12 with the funeral at 11 a.m. at Concordia University Chapel on Geddes Road and US 23 in Ann Arbor.


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