‘It happened so quick’: Man nearly crushed to death after canopy collapse is out of coma

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CHICAGO — A man who was nearly crushed to death when a canopy collapsed under the weight of heavy snow is now out of a coma and spoke exclusively to WGN News.

Larry Cannon said he was in a coma for three days after that deadly awning collapse. He said he is just now learning how to walk with a walker.

Last Wednesday Cannon was knocked unconscious after the awning fell on top of him at the Club Hawthorne off track betting site on Corliss Avenue.

“I don’t recall what happened because it just happened so quickly, so instantly,” he said. “All I remember is that I woke up three days later conscious in the hospital.”

Cannon was trapped underneath the heavy snow and roof, and 54-year-old Randy Pate was also stuck underneath. They both were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center where Pate was pronounced dead. Cannon said Pate saved his life.

“By him being on top of me, that preventing more of the snow and the roof coming down on me,” he said.

What’s left of the outdoor entertainment area paints a tragic picture of the moments the collapse took place. District Fire Chief Jamar Sullivan last week said that no one should have been able to go in the area — the family of Pate agreed.

“I don’t understand if you allow your people to come out and stand underneath something like this knowing it’s not secure,” Taniel Pate, Pate’s niece, said.

Cannon said the company that owns the off track betting site has not reached out to him.

With multiple stitches in his head, and spinal and neck injuries, Cannon said he has already retained a lawyer, but the big picture is that he’s grateful for Pate.

“It happened so quick and unexpected. I’m just lucky to have survived,” he said.

Cannon has a long road to recovery.

WGN has reached out to the company that owns Club Hawthorne but has not heard back.

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