MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 21-year-old Winona State University student was discovered dead inside a bar’s dumbwaiter Monday evening, according to the Fountain City Police Department.
Shortly before 8 p.m., the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from WingDam Bar and Saloon in Fountain City, Wisconsin. When authorities arrived, they discovered the body of an employee identified as Brooke Baures in the food service elevator.
Baures’ gymnastic coach, Becki Rolbiecki, calls her a stand-out athlete who went to Nationals and was named All American all three years at Winona State.
“She’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime athletes,” Rolbiecki said. “Her work ethic inspired everybody in the gym because she just went all out and gave her all every practice.”
Rolbiecki said Baures was an all-around gymnast, but she concentrated on the bars and beam, and her future.
“Awesome team person, you know. Very compassionate and caring person, a good listener, a good friend, a good mentor,” Rolbiecki said. “We had lots of conversations and lots of discussions about life and love and wishes and dreams and hopes.”
Baures planned to become a social worker, a desire she took so seriously. Rolbiecki says she decided to pursue an internship rather than gymnastics her senior year.
She also worked part-time at WingDam Saloon and Grill. Police say part of her job included getting service items from the dumbwaiter that runs between the floors of the bar.
While police don’t know yet how Baures became trapped, they have ruled out foul play.
Winona State University Athletic Director Eric Schoh met with the gymnastic team before they went to see Baures’ family in Wisconsin.
“A lot of tears, a lot of hang-in-there’s, a lot of thoughts and prayers and a lot of hugs,” Schoh said.
Rolbiecki says the team’s thoughts and prayers go out to Baures family.
“She was such a gift, she loved life,” Rolbiecki said.
Baures went to high school in Cameron, Wisconsin.
The gymnastics team and other students are planning a candle light vigil for Baures Wednesday night at 8 p.m. at the gazebo on campus.
Police think they’ll know more Wednesday about how the accident happened.
OSHA has been contacted, and the agency says there have only been two fatal dumbwaiter accidents in the U.S. in the past 10 years.