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Indiana stage collapse victims described evening as 'perfect'

August 14, 2011 |  5:41 pm

Deadly stage collapseChristina Santiago and her partner, Alisha Brennon, thought they were having a perfect night as they waited for the country music duo Sugarland to perform at the Indiana State Fair, the Chicago Tribune reported.

But a powerful gust of wind toppled the stage, killing Santiago, 29, and four other concertgoers, and critically injuring Brennon, authorities said. At least 45 people were hurt.

Photos: Deadly stage collapse

Santiago was a manager at Chicago's leading health center for the gay and lesbian community. Friends told WGN-TV that she normally would have been working Saturday, but she and Brennon took time off to travel.

They had both mentioned being at the concert on Facebook, said Veronica Hernandez, who knew them.

Santiago had called it a “perfect night” for the couple, Hernandez told WGN. Brennon, too, described the evening as "perfect," Hernandez told the Tribune.  

Brennon and Santiago had been among the first couples to obtain a civil union in Cook County when it became legal earlier this year, Hernandez said.

“It wasn't hard to figure out where they were at,” Hernandez told the Tribune. Brennon had posted that they were in the front row.

But, Hernandez said, “We had our hopes that they weren't where they were, that maybe they were in back getting some food.”

The others who died in the collapse were Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne, Ind.; Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah, Ind.; and two Indianapolis residents: Glenn Goodrich, 49, and Nathan Byrd, 51, authorities said.

 RELATED:

 Chaos after deadly stage collapse at Indiana fair

Stage collapse eyewitness: 'Then we heard screams'

Sugarland Tweets a request for prayers after deadly collapse


 -- Connie Stewart

The Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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