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Mourner hit by falling beam at funeral home: 'We feel like Travis was looking over us'

By ALLISON MILES
Dec. 15, 2011 at 6:15 a.m.
Updated Dec. 16, 2011 at 6:16 a.m.


A fender bender occurred on Mallette Drive on Thursday morning during a funeral procession for Travis Madden, the Inez native and Texas A&M University-Kingsville pitcher who died Saturday.

Two vehicles bumped one another but no one was taken to a hospital, said Sgt. Phillip Barron, of the Victoria Police Department.

Tom Curtis and his family stood along the funeral chapel's center aisle, about 20 people away from Travis Madden's casket.

As they waited to pay respects to Madden, an Inez native who pitched for Texas A&M University-Kingsville and grew up playing baseball with Curtis' son, something fell from above.

"I didn't hear any cracking and I didn't see anything," said Curtis, First Victoria Bank's senior vice president of marketing. "I was just on the ground, next thing you know."

Curtis was among four people transported to the hospital Wednesday evening when a decorative beam fell from the ceiling at Rosewood Funeral Chapel, 3304 Mockingbird Lane.

Paramedics transported Curtis to DeTar Hospital Navarro, where he received seven staples in his head and was released that night.

His 21-year-old daughter, Katelin Curtis, was also transported to DeTar, but stayed overnight because of concussion symptoms and for extra tests. She was released about noon Thursday.

Curtis said both father and daughter are doing well, except for head and neck pain. They plan to take it easy for a couple of days.

Two others were transported, said Sgt. Phillip Barron, of the Victoria Police Department.

Paramedics took one woman to Citizens Medical Center, while a 16- or 17-year-old boy went to DeTar. Barron said he did not have additional information about those injured, such as names or conditions.

Kenneth Griffin, of Victoria, also injured his right hand while attempting to brace the falling beam.

The affected chapel will remain closed until repairs are complete, but there is no set timeline, said Robert Hairell, who manages the funeral home.

Rosewood's second chapel and state room will stay in use, he said, and the funeral home can make additional arrangements if necessary.

The company's main concern now lies with those injured and the families Rosewood was serving Wednesday, Hairell said.

"Our main focus and thought is to see that they're OK and taken care of at this point," he said, adding that he was grateful for emergency personnel who assisted at the incident.

Madden died Saturday in Kingsville in a fall after attending a party off campus.

As for Curtis, he said he might suffer some aches and pains, and wishes he could have attended Madden's viewing and funeral, but is grateful no one was seriously injured.

He attributed that to one special rookie angel.

"We feel like Travis was looking over us," he said.

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