SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The parents of a football fan who died after falling from a pedestrian overpass outside Candlestick Park before a 49ers game acknowledge that their 32-year-old son was drinking but said Thursday until toxicology reports are done it’s not known whether he was so impaired that it caused the accident.
Kevin Hayes had been drinking beer while tailgating before walking up a ramp and turning onto a staircase where the rail was lower, said his mother Janet Hayes. He slipped and went over the rail, she said, citing an account provided by her son, Jeffrey, who was with his older brother when he fell.
Dennis Hayes, the man’s father, said he and his wife have no idea if he was so intoxicated that he was having trouble walking, as some witnesses have reported.
“We are not denying that he may have been drunk,” Hayes said. “We just really need to see the toxicology report from the coroner’s office, and until we do, we don’t know anything and neither does anyone else.”
It could take weeks for the report to be completed, the medical examiner said.
The Hayes family went to the overpass earlier this week, trying to piece together what happened.
Jeffrey Hayes said he was less than 2 feet from his brother when the accident occurred. Racing down to the sidewalk, he called his parents as rescuers were loading his brother into the ambulance. His brother was already 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.
The family said they have not heard directly from the city or the 49ers, but they were contacted by medical examiners on Sunday night.
Janet Hayes said the family has 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 to go ahead with.
“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.
Dennis Hayes stressed that responders did all they could to help his son, and the family was thankful for their efforts.