Cops say falling sign killed man; coroner says it was a heart attack

A man - who has been identified as Carey Hall Jr., 59 - is seen in surveillance video moments before he fell to the ground.

A man who police say was fatally struck by a sign that detached from a building at a Hunting Park auto dealership during Monday's rainstorm actually died of a heart attack four hours after the sign fell, the Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday.

In addition, time-stamped surveillance footage from the auto dealer, Abram's Auto Sales & Tags in the 4300 block of Old York Road, shows the sign falling with no one nearby, and the man collapsing about four hours later while cleaning up the debris.

The victim, identified by authorities as Carey Hall Jr., 59, was an employee of the auto dealership, according to owner Dwight Anderson.

Philadelphia police reported Monday that a "black male was struck by the company sign when it was knocked off the wall by the wind" - and the police held fast Tuesday to that version of Hall's death.

But a spokesman for the Medical Examiner's Office said Tuesday evening that Hall had "died of natural causes, from a myocardial infarction or heart attack."

Video surveillance footage provided by Anderson, 61, of Hunting Park, appears to support that version.

The footage shows the sign falling off the front of the building at 6:35 a.m. Monday during the nor'easter that brought 60-mph gusts and heavy rain to the region. No one is seen on the car lot at that time.

Almost four hours later, at 10:12, Hall, with a broom and trash bags in hand, is seen cleaning up the debris from the fallen sign.

Moments later, Hall pauses, reaches toward the hood of the nearest car for support, and collapses face-first onto the debris. Anderson said he found Hall's body about two hours later and called police.


Warning: the video below depicts a man falling to the ground as an apparent heart attack strikes.

Police on Tuesday reiterated their version: "A sign for the used auto lot at that location fell from an adjoining building and pinned the 59-year-old male decedent against a vehicle."

Anderson said he had a rough night lamenting the loss of his employee.

"I didn't sleep good yesterday, everybody thinking the sign fell on him," said Anderson, who added that he was the first one to examine the surveillance footage Tuesday afternoon. He said paramedics on the scene Monday had told him that Hall's body showed no physical signs of having been hit by the sign.

The police "made me look bad," Anderson said.

Hall had worked at the auto dealership for more than three years and had a daughter, Anderson said.

"I knew this guy all my life," Anderson said. "He was trustworthy."


Staff writer Stephanie Farr contributed to this article.