Thursday, March 17, 2005

Spring Breaker Falls From Balcony During Spitting Contest

A college spring breaker from Iowa was seriously injured when he fell from a balcony during a spitting contest in Panama City, Fla., according to police.

Brooks McLaren, 19, of Hazleton, Iowa, was on the second floor of the America Best Value Inn about midnight Sunday when he leaned over the railing, lost his grip and fell onto concrete during a contest to see who could spit the farthest, said police Maj. David Humphreys.

McLaren suffered head injuries and was listed in stable condition Tuesday at Bay Medical Center's surgical intensive care unit in nearby Panama City.

Balcony falls, sometimes fatal, are a common hazard during spring break, but police say this year has been relatively safe so far. One other fall resulted in only minor injuries at Panama City Beach, one of the nation's top spring break destinations.

"We used to have falls daily," police Lt. Jeff Heath said. "This year's spring breakers are the most behaved I've seen in 15 years."

Last year, two spring breaker visitors were injured in balcony falls here, but both survived.


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