Sugarland Fan Feels Betrayed by Blame Game

Beth Urschell, 49, and her life partner, Tammy Van Dam, 42, were among 12,000 fans at the Aug. 13, 2011, concert when a massive storm struck and blew over the temporary staging

Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012  |  Updated 11:46 PM EDT
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Beth Urschell, who lost her long-time girlfriend in the Aug. 13, 2011 stage collapse, says she's

Beth Urschell, who lost her long-time girlfriend in the Aug. 13, 2011 stage collapse, says she's "angry" and "let down" by the contention made by the attorneys of one of her favorite bands that she's at fault for not ensuring her own safety.

A woman who lost her partner in last August's stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair said Wednesday she feels "angry" and "let down" by the contention that she and other Sugarland fans are partly to blame for their injuries.

"I've been dealing with emotions of losing my partner and then to have them come back and say it's my fault. It's my fault that she died, really?" said a tearful Beth Urschell, hours after attorneys from the country duo Sugarland said fans share some of the blame.

Urschell, 49, and her life partner, Tammy Van Dam, 42, were among 12,000 other fans at the Aug. 13, 2011, concert when a massive storm struck and blew over the temporary staging. The crush of equipment broke Urschell's clavicle, severed her toe and lacerated her kidney.

Van Dam was among seven people killed.

Survivors, like Urschell, and families of those killed have filed a civil suit alleging negligence by Sugarland, producers and stage riggers. But Sugarland's attorneys say fans should have done more to ensure their own safety, adding that the collapse was an "act of God" and that fans voluntarily assumed risk of injury by attending.

But the plaintiffs' lawyer Kenneth J. Allen says that's nonsense and argues that when the storm was certain to hit the stage, band members were more concerned with finishing the show and moving on to the next one in Iowa City.

"They convinced 12,000 people that despite the appearance [of threatening weather], it was safe. The band was going to perform. The show was going to go on," said Allen.

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