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USC student injured in four-story fall from dorm

COLUMBIA -- A University of South Carolina student fell four stories from a residence hall window early Friday and is being treated for serious injuries at Palmetto Health Richland.

Freshman Taylor Cothran, 18, of Greenville fell from a south-facing fifth-floor window of the Capstone House residence hall on Barnwell Street around 2:30 a.m., university spokesman Russ McKinney said. He landed on the roof of the first floor, which extends from the bottom of the hall on three sides.

On Friday, Cothran remained in the hospital's critical care unit.

"God is faithful, and his plan is perfect," the teen's father, Tom Cothran, said at the hospital. "I'd like to ask anybody who would to pray for my family and my son."

Campus authorities have asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the incident, SLED spokeswoman Bobbi Schlatterer said Friday, though she declined to give specifics.

College of Charleston freshman Megan Van Gieson, who described Taylor Cothran as "my best friend," said she talked to him at 1 a.m. Friday by telephone.

"It was just a two-minute conversation, just an 'I miss you' call." She said she was leaving Charleston on Friday afternoon to come to Columbia to be with him.

"He is one of the most outgoing people I know," Van Gieson said. "Everyone loves him."

As a Capstone Scholar, Cothran was in a USC program for high-achieving students, most of whom are housed in the high-rise Capstone residence hall. He had enrolled at USC this fall with several friends from J.L. Mann High School in Greenville, said Gene Luna, associate vice president for student affairs.

Cothran crashed through the glass in a window on the fifth floor of Capstone, Luna said. He said the residence hall has restrictors on the windows to ensure they cannot be opened more than about 10 inches.

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