Fall From Palm Springs Balcony Hospitalizes Student

Times Staff Writer

A 19-year-old Simi Valley college student was in serious condition at a Palm Springs hospital Sunday, recovering from head injuries suffered when she fell from a hotel balcony during spring break revelry.

A nursing supervisor at Desert Hospital said Shelli Hoyt, a student at Moorpark College, remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit after undergoing surgery. Her condition was reported as critical Saturday but had improved by Sunday.

Palm Springs police said Hoyt fell from the second-floor balcony of her room at the Dunes Hotel about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Ray Ghrabety, a desk clerk at the hotel, said a security guard told Hoyt, who had been drinking, not to sit on the balcony railing. But, he said, she did not move.


“It was a straightforward accident, as far as we could tell,” a police spokesman said.

Two hours before the fall, police wearing riot gear had gone to the hotel to break up a fistfight among about 15 young men, authorities said. The fight spread throughout the hotel and police threatened to close it before the disruption subsided.

Ghrabety said only about 15 guests remained Sunday afternoon at the 128-room hotel. He said the hotel planned to hire several additional security guards for next weekend, when college students celebrating spring break a week later are expected to arrive.

Despite the fall and the death of a 22-year-old Santa Ana woman in a traffic accident 2 days earlier, police consider the weeklong celebration by college students to have been relatively quiet.