By Amber Goodhand - Radar Reporter
More than 45 people were injured and seven lost their lives when the stage collapsed in August at the Indiana State Fair, and RadarOnline.com has just learned the state will be paying out $5 million to the victims and their families.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced on Wednesday that the state plans to quickly distribute the money to the victims, which is the maximum amount allowed under Indiana’s government liability law.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, 24-year-old cheerleading coach Meagan Toothman became the seventh death from the stage collapse when she was removed from life support by her family, so they could donate her organs.
A relief fund has also been set up for the victims, with donations from private individuals and businesses, and has already reached $800,000.
The money from both the relief fund and the state will go towards medical bills, injuries that prevent them from earning a living and funeral costs — although it’s unclear how the funds will be distributed.
The stage collapsed on August 13 after strong winds blew it over, just before the band Sugarland was set to take the stage.
Just five days later, the country band called for a moment of silence at their Alburquerque, New Mexico, show in remembrance of the tragedy and “the beautiful lives that were lost.”
The other casualties of the tragedy are: Jennifer Haskell, 22, of Parker City, Indiana; Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago, Illinois; Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah, Indiana; and Nathan Byrd, 51, and Glenn Goodrich, 49, both from from Indianapolis, Indiana.
“This is a way to get early payments to the victims,” Zoeller’s spokesperson, Bryan Corbin, said. “Once the $5 million limit is reached, that is all there is.”