A bicyclist suffered a serious head injury last month after a pillar designed to keep traffic off the Old State Capitol Plaza tumbled onto his head in downtown Springfield.  A video of the Oct. 10 incident released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request to the city shows the bicyclist, whom the city is refusing to identify, grabbing for the metal pillar in an apparent attempt to gain support after he either fell from or dismounted his bicycle. The pillar toppled, striking the bicyclist on his head. See video of the incident below.

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A nurse who was nearby told police that the bicyclist had a pulse but was not responsive when she checked on him and found blood coming from his ears and mouth, according to a police report obtained in response to a FOIA request. The cyclist, 46, was rushed to St. Johns Hospital for surgery, police reported, and hospital personnel told an officer that police would be notified if he did not survive.

It’s not clear whether the man is dead or alive. The Sangamon County coroner’s office says that it is not familiar with such a case. A St. Johns spokeswoman said that she could provide no information on the man’s condition or prognosis without a name, which the city won’t release on the grounds that releasing his identity would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

It’s not clear why a pillar that’s supposed to stop cars tumbled when the man, described in a police report as weighing 135 pounds, grabbed it. The video shows that a pillar adjacent to the one that fell was missing except for its base. Public works director Mark Mahoney declined comment, referring all questions to city spokeswoman Julia Frevert, who said that she would attempt to find out if and when the pillars were worked on, why the pillar fell on the man, the extent of his injuries and what, if anything, the city has done to prevent a similar incident in the future.

The pillar that tumbled has not been replaced. Illinois Times has submitted a records request to the city for work orders and other records showing what sort of work or maintenance has been performed on the pillars and when.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

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