Weather Updates

White Sox pitcher John Danks wouldn’t call 911 after friend paralyzed in fall, suit claims

John Danks

John Danks

storyidforme: 36155327
tmspicid: 11715537
fileheaderid: 5350049
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: October 1, 2012 5:50PM

White Sox star John Danks refused to call 911 after his high school pal — pushed off a rooftop perch at Danks’ rented condo in 2010 — suffered a fall that left him paralyzed, according to a lawsuit filed against the pitcher.

Blake Papst claims his own brother’s shove and Danks’ unwillingness to call for help are among the reasons he’s wheelchair-bound for life. He also blames Danks for carrying him down three flights of stairs after the injury.

Papst, 31, made the claims against Danks in a lawsuit filed this month in Cook County Circuit Court. Papst also sued his younger brother, Waylon Papst, and the owner of the Goose Island condo.

The Papst brothers were visiting Danks from Texas, where they all attended Round Rock High School.

In the wee hours of Aug. 14, 2010, the brothers stood atop a “concrete structure” that’s 10 feet higher than the communal rooftop deck of the building at 1024 W. Fry, according to the suit.

Blake Papst was on the phone. His brother wanted to talk to the person on the line.

After Blake Papst hung up, Waylon Papst shoved his older brother over the edge. Blake Papst hit the deck and couldn’t move, according to the lawsuit.

Danks checked to make sure his friend was conscious and breathing. The pitcher also looked for “any excessive blood loss.” Blake Papst remained on the deck for several hours until Danks and Waylon Papst carried him down three flights of stairs and into his condo, the suit claimed.

But Danks refused to call 911 and also refused to bring him a phone to call 911 himself, according to the lawsuit.

The fall, the lack of emergency medical care and Danks decision to carry Blake Papst down the stairs left the Austin, Texas, man paralyzed, bound to a wheelchair, Blake Papst’s attorney John Melton said.

Both Danks, who pitched only nine games this season before having season-ending shoulder surgery, and his attorney Francis “Pat” Cuisiner, a Glenview village trustee, did not return calls for comment.

Debbie Melton, the mother of the Papst brothers, declined to comment when reached at the family graphic design shop in Austin.

The lawsuit — which also names the 1024 W. Fry Condominium Association and Russell Salzman, owner of the condo rented to Danks, as defendants — claims the structure that Blake Papst fell from did not have proper safety railings, according to the lawsuit. Salzman did not return a call seeking comment.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.