The devastated parents of a 32-year-old football fan who fell to his death from a pedestrian overpass outside Candlestick Park said Wednesday that their son had a "few" beers while tailgating but wasn't so drunk that he couldn't walk straight.
Janet and Dennis Hayes, responding to reports from witnesses that their son Kevin Hayes was heavily intoxicated and stumbling before the 49ers game, said 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 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. Toxicology reports from the coroner's office are not expected for several weeks.
The 49ers released a statement Wednesday that says the team is "deeply saddened by the tragic incident that took the life of one of our faithful fans this past Sunday afternoon."
"We understand that Kevin and his family have remained steadfast supporters for years," the statement said. "Our thoughts and sincere sympathies are with his family and friends during this difficult time."
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."
Kevin Hayes lived in Hayward and worked as a welder and machinist. He grew up in San Mateo, attending Hillsdale and Aragon high schools and Chabot College.