Tribe releases report of fatal fall at Foxwoods

Mashantucket — Adopting a new policy on the disclosure of tribal police reports of noncriminal activity, the Mashantucket Pequots released a report Friday of an Oct. 25 incident in which a woman fell from a Foxwoods Resort Casino escalator.

The woman died 11 days later of her injuries, according to the report, which concluded the fall was an accident.

The tribe repeatedly had denied The Day's request for information about the incident, and The Associated Press reported Thursday that it also had requested the tribal police report. In relenting Friday, the tribe maintained that, under an agreement with state police, it is not required to disclose police reports of noncriminal activity, "but only those pertaining to criminal incidents."

"However," the tribe said, "in light of recent requests within the past week, we have completed a thorough internal review of this matter, and have determined it is in the best interest of the Tribe to expand our policy and allow disclosure of noncriminal reports once personal information is redacted from such reports, moving forward."

Both the Mashantucket and Mohegan tribes, respective owners of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, assumed responsibility for policing their reservations, which include the casinos, under the terms of 2014 memorandum of agreements signed with the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. While requiring the tribal police departments to operate like municipal police, the agreements are less-than-specific in regard to the disclosure of reports of noncriminal activity.

A Mohegan official said this week that Mohegan tribal police disclose reports of their investigations of noncriminal matters if and when they're requested.

In the report released Friday by the Mashantuckets, the name of the woman who died and the witnesses tribal police interviewed were redacted.

The report says the woman who fell landed between the up and down escalators in front of David Burke Prime, a Grand Pequot Casino restaurant. Tribal officers who were nearby responded immediately and soon learned that the woman was among a group of about eight people that had just left the casino's Halo Bar. The group, all co-workers, had met at the Hilton Garden Inn in Preston for a regional business conference.

A member of the group told police that the woman who fell was the first one of the group to step onto the escalator after leaving the bar. She said the woman "leaned her back against the glass and then put both of her hands behind her back and on top of the black moving rail." Despite warnings, the witness said, the woman "flipped over the railing with her upper body followed by her legs."

The witness said she saw the woman "flip 360 degrees and then fall face first onto the floor below."

According to the same witness, the group had dined at their hotel and attended a business meeting before taking a shuttle to Foxwoods. The witness said the woman had two drinks at the Halo bar. Another member of the group told police the woman had consumed "five or six" drinks during the evening and was "having a good time."

The woman was taken to the William W. Backus Hospital with a severe head injury and was transferred to Hartford Hospital, where she died Nov. 5.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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