Falling Gargoyle Kills Bride-to-Be
Sarah Bean was en route to lunch with her fiance in Chicago
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2014 8:47 AM CDT
The Chicago skyline is shown.   (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

(Newser) – A Chicago mother of two was headed to lunch with her fiance in the city's South Loop yesterday when pieces of a gargoyle fell from a church's facade and struck her in the head, killing her. "I saw that crack on her head and thought, 'She's definitely dead,'" a witness who ran to help tells the Chicago Tribune. Sarah Bean's fiance, Lance Johnson, started screaming, the witness says, as he fell to the ground and held his hands to his head. Family members tell NBC Chicago the couple was due to marry soon; Johnson is the father of Bean's two children, ages 10 and 14.

A piece of decorative metal several stories up came loose at the Second Presbyterian Church on South Michigan Avenue, and then knocked off a piece of stone from the gargoyle, which hit Bean. Officials say she was killed almost instantly; she was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The church, which was built in 1874 and is a national historic landmark, DNAinfo Chicago reports, failed a number of inspections between 2007 and 2011, but passed inspections in 2012 and 2013. "She was finally going to get married," muses Bean's brother, noting that she used to live right down the street and had passed the church "millions of times." (In Florida this week, a man was murdered while on a "bucket list" bike ride en route to propose to his girlfriend.)