OSU to pay $450K to family of area student who died in lake jump

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OSU to pay $450K to family of area student who died in lake jump

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Construction crews have removed the concrete sides and brick bottom of Mirror Lake on the Ohio State University campus. Workers are installing new utilities, and the renovation is expected to be completed in spring. KYLE ROBERTSON/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Ohio State University has settled a negligence lawsuit with the family of a Dayton area student who died during the 2015 Mirror Lake jump on campus.

OSU has agreed to pay the family of Austin Singletary $450,000, according to documents from the Ohio Court of Claims. As part of the settlement, Singletary’s family has agreed to dismiss OSU and the state from having any liability in their son’s death.

The school has also agreed to place a bench with a memorial plaque in Singletary’s honor somewhere on campus. The Singletary family will pay for the bench, according to court documents.

Singletary, 22 of Bellbrook, died from accidental head and neck trauma in 2015 after jumping into shallow water at Mirror Lake as part of an annual pre-game ritual for the Ohio State- Michigan football game. The Franklin County Coroner found that at the time of his death Singletary had a blood-alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Singletary was a 2012 graduate from Bellbrook High School. He was majoring in human nutrition at OSU, with a minor in business management. OSU officials have said he previously studied at Columbus State Community College.

Though the settlement was agreed to by both parties, it still needs approval from the court, said Bill Posey, an attorney representing the Singletary family.

“Any time you are litigating a claim rising out of the death of a young child, it’s difficult for the family,” Posey said. “So, my hope is once this is finished they can go on with the grieving process.”

Just a year after Singletary’s death, Ohio State closed and drained Mirror Lake. The university is spending $8.4 million to redesign Mirror Lake that will give it a more natural and sustainable setting. Construction is expected to be completed in July 2018.

The Singletary family, who Posey described as very private, has declined all media interviews. But, Posey said they feel “relief that this chapter is over.”

“What they would tell you is…that Ohio State treated them with a lot of respect and dignity from the president of the university on down through the management,” Posey said. “That is good to hear since they could have fought (the lawsuit).”

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