SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The parents of a man who died after falling from a pedestrian overpass outside Candlestick Park before a San Francisco 49ers game are denying accounts from witnesses that their 32-year-old son was drunk and stumbling.
Kevin Hayes had a "few" beers while tailgating, but wasn't so intoxicated that he couldn't walk straight, Janet and Dennis Hayes said Wednesday. They said their son he had walked up a ramp and was turning onto a staircase where the rail was lower when he slipped and fell.
"Kevin put his hand out thinking the rail was going to be there, but he slipped, tried to grab the rail, and went over the side," Janet Hayes told The Associated Press, citing the account provided by her son, Jeffrey, who was with his older brother when he fell.
The Hayes family visited the site Tuesday, trying to piece together what happened.
Jeffrey Hayes said he was less than 2 feet from his brother when the accident suddenly occurred. Racing down to the sidewalk, he called his parents as rescuers were loading his brother into the ambulance. His brother already was dead when they arrived at San Francisco General Hospital.
Police Chief Greg Suhr has described the death as a sad, tragic accident and said it was not clear if alcohol played a role. Toxicology reports from the coroner's office are not expected for several weeks.
The family said they have not heard directly from the city, the 49ers, coroner or any agency. Janet Hayes said they have no plans to contact an attorney or pursue litigation.
"I refuse to think about that part right now," she said. "That is way too negative and my son would be ashamed of that."
Kevin was supposed to be the best man at his brother's wedding this weekend, a celebration the family decided will occur as planned.
"If he were here, he'd be kicking our butts and telling us to stop crying and move on, we've got a wedding to celebrate," Janet Hayes said. "He'd be overwhelmed by the love and support pouring in."
The family has been 49ers season ticket holders since 1946, when the team was part of the All-America Football Conference. Kevin and Jeffrey Hayes had been going to games since they were babies. Last Sunday, as always, Kevin was wearing his 49ers cap and T-shirt, his parents said.
Kevin Hayes lived in Hayward, across San Francisco Bay from Candlestick Park, and worked as a welder and machinist. He grew up in San Mateo, attending Hillsdale and Aragon high schools and Chabot College.
Janet Hayes said the family still passionately supports the 49ers but she was unsure when they would return to Candlestick Park.
"It's going to be hard to go to a game in the near future," she said. "We're not ready yet. We have to have some time."