Future of bookstore umbrellas uncertain after injury to student

Bookstore officials have not decided what to do, if anything, with the umbrellas in the patio area of the university bookstore after a female student was injured by one before spring break.

On March 11, the student, whose named was withheld by campus police on a police report, was struck on the head when wind knocked one of the bookstore’s outdoor umbrellas loose, said Roman Coronado, bookstore textbook manager.

Freshman pre-major Irene Sanchez, a friend of the woman injured, said she witnessed the incident while the two were sitting in the patio area outside the store. Sanchez said the wind picked up abruptly, causing an umbrella from another table to come out of its base and fly toward them.

“I just remember looking up, and (the umbrella) hit her,” Sanchez said.

Although store managers were in the store at the time of the incident, Coronado said he did not believe any employees witnessed the incident as it occurred.

According to the police report, TCU Police dispatched crews from the Fort Worth Fire Department and MedStar after a call came from the bookstore in response to the incident. The MedStar crew transported the student to Harris Methodist Hospital downtown.

Coronado said the student appeared shaken up after the accident, but she was conscious.

The student’s injury was treated with stitches, but she was released from the hospital later that day, Sanchez said.

Coronado said he was confused how the accident could have occurred given the direction the wind was blowing that day.

“It was sort of just like a freak incident because, if I remember correctly, the wind was coming from the west,” Coronado said. “It would have had to sweep the umbrella up from the bottom and blow it to the east. It was kind of confusing, even if it blew it out, it had to fishtail somehow to hit the girl. No one actually understood how it happened, but it’s the fact that it did happen.”

The umbrellas outside the bookstore are weighted into the tables outside using a screw at the base of the table, Coronado said.

Some umbrellas still remain outside the bookstore, but are not opened, Coronado said. He said he was unsure whether the bookstore planned to further weigh down the umbrellas or if doing so would be possible.

Coronado said the bookstore’s general manager, Llisa Lewis, attempted to contact the student the day after the incident to check on her, but could not get in touch with her.

Lewis said when store managers were unable to reach the student over spring break, both Barnes & Noble and the university contacted her to make sure she was all right.

Sanchez said the injured student has since had the stitches removed and is doing well. She said she did not believe her friend is planning on filing any kind of legal action against university bookstore or the university.