Man struck and killed by Raptor at Cedar Point after entering restricted area

Posted Thursday, August 13, 2015 7:11 PM | Contributed by Mike Gallagher

A Cedar Point guest died after he was struck by the Raptor roller coaster around 5 p.m. Thursday. According to a statement from the amusement park, the guest was in a restricted area of the park surrounded by a fence when it happened.

Read more from WKYC/Cleveland.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 7:05 PM

From what I have gathered from talking to people here, his friends had gone off and he said he would meet up with him. One of them knew he had lost his wallet and phone and assumed he was going to tell the Raptor staff (or someone) what had happened. They left to see all the Lebron activities and he was supposed to rejoin them.

He never said..."Hey, I'm thinking about doing this..."...but sometime after they left he made that fatal choice. No one had a chance to talk him out of it because no one knew he was even pondering doing such a thing. The family and friends also have no idea if anyone did see anything at all, nor have they been told if there are any witnesses, video, etc. Everyone is 100% clueless as to how it all happened, which is pretty difficult to deal with. I haven't heard anyone describe him as being impulsive or erratic or unpredictable; in fact all the opposite. People hate, hate, hate ambiguity, but from where things stand my guess is that no one will even be able to piece those final pieces together unelss there is some witness that for some reason isn't saying something. You would think that someone would see something, but then again, people at Cedar Point are often in their own little worlds. It's totally feasible that there simply were no eye witnesses.

The way I can see it playing out is that he actually visually spotted his stuff...either while heading off to tell someone that his wallet/phone was lost on the ride or on the way back from telling them...and simply didn't "think". At all. I'm curious if he ever did speak to a staff member about how to get it, or if he simply stopped and stared and looked for it; no one seems to know, and I'm assuming that's info we'll never find out (at least publicly). Of course, there's the toxicology report yet to be completed, so we'll see if that reveals anything at all. Would it make it easier for anyone if that turned up anything? I don't know.

So, knowing all this, the "de-individuation" thing doesn't even make sense, because that's when illogical action is taken when you are in a group. He apparently did all this when he wasn't around any of his friends.

Last edited by OhioStater, Saturday, August 15, 2015 7:39 PM
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Saturday, August 15, 2015 8:14 PM

Yes, from what I've been reading, it seems to me he saw his items and made a snap decision to retrieve them. And there's the moment I have trouble understanding. That snap decision had to involve a thought something along the lines of "I see my items yonder on the opposite side of two fences separating me from this fast-moving piece of machinery I just rode."

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 9:38 PM

And that's the moment no one will ever have an answer to. In some ways, the grief I see the family going through is similar to what folks go through after a suicide. You know what happened and how the person died, but you will never understand the why, and you will always feel as if there was something you (or someone else) could have done to stop it.

Or, if he did see his items, why didn't he wait until a train passed, run as fast as he possibly could to get them, and then get the heck out of there (although Gonch's post way back seems to explain this phenomenon fairly well).

In a way, I can see how for a lot of people it would be a kinda/sorta blessing if the toxicology report comes back and reveals he was hammered. It's easier to understand how an otherwise highly educated, rational human being could 1) make such a poor choice and 2) execute the plan so poorly, under such circumstances.

You don't have to be a coaster-enthusiast to be left awe-struck at the seemingly mind-numbing poor sense of judgement. That said, assuming he was not completely inebriated, I can only guess that he vastly, vastly underestimated how long it would take for another train to come by, and he also vastly, vastly underestimated the clearance he had under the tracks; he was significantly tall (6'-6").

No matter how you look at it, it will never make sense to anyone.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 12:24 AM

It may be that he was timing the trains. But he only thought he knew where his items were and when he got out there, he realized he didn't and had to look for them (or maybe his phone was in multiple pieces and he had to look for one or more of them). In that search, he loses track of timing and is spatially disoriented in terms of the coaster track. Noise of trains disorients him further. Roar of the trains may have been loudest when trains were half minute or more from being above where he was standing and not as loud when they were upon him.

Its all speculation at this point until the police/park report is released. And depending on how much info is available, speculation may be all we have.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:02 PM

Maybe he just underestimated the clearance of the train. On an invert, the track is a long way up when the clearance envelope is 6' off the ground.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:30 PM

Very tragic and sad all around, but adds to my take on attached people are to tech gadgets. An individual climbing a fence in a restricted area willing to risk his safety for a cell phone is mind boggling. There was a another sad incident not too long ago where a young woman was walking down a sidewalk texting, then stepped out onto the street and was hit by a truck and killed. All this media keeping us so connected, we're actually disconnected.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:33 PM

This whole "people love their cell phone" angle smells like confirmation bias. People have done the same thing (and gotten killed for it) going after their hats and nobody came on the board to preach about how much people are attached to their hats.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:33 PM
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Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:33 PM

jkpark: Very true. Too often, people have replaced interacting with others with the illusion of interacting with others. I often see families walking into the theatre lobby at work, and each of them is focused on their device.

ApolloAndy: Admittedly anecdotal, but I do think that people do love their cell phone. Those families mentioned above, for example; so many people at concerts or events focused on recording it on their device rather than just enjoying the experience; people texting people in the same room -- expending more effort to communicate than simply speaking...

...and I'm guilty of it too. I was at ACE's 2012 Coaster Con, when Dolly Parton performed an announced 3-song mini-concert. Realized halfway through the first song I was obsessing over taking pictures rather than enjoying that Dolly Parton was singing ten feet away from me.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:41 PM
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Monday, August 17, 2015 9:30 AM

It's sad for everyone involved.

It's also sad that the people of this board can be so hateful and heartless when someone loses their life, no matter WHAT the cirumstances are!

It seems that no loose articles should be allowed on rides and parks should start providing free lockers for this stuff.

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Monday, August 17, 2015 10:23 AM

A no loose articles policy is a good way to prevent this from happening, but many people will not like it. I know I wouldn't, but I always think ahead and wear shorts with a zippered pocket. I don't think anyone wants to trust leaving those personal items like their wallet and cell phone in a locker while they ride. I hated that policy on the SLC at Morey's Piers.

What about a secure pocket on the ride to keep your loose articles in?

Last edited by LostKause, Monday, August 17, 2015 10:24 AM
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Monday, August 17, 2015 10:56 AM

You're not talking about a "no loose article" policy. You're talking about a "no articles policy" (so, you'd be allowed to wear clothes and that's it), which is of course not practical or enforceable.

And even if such a rule were practical and enforceable, it seems like an enormous overreaction to something that while tragic, doesn't really happen all that often, relatively speaking.

Last edited by djDaemon, Monday, August 17, 2015 10:58 AM
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Monday, August 17, 2015 11:19 AM

I'm not being hateful. If someone steps in front of an 18 wheeler going 55 mph on a highway to pick something up, I can't find much sympathy for them either. I have sympathy for people who are deserving. Like this guys family who have to deal with his stupid choice.

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Monday, August 17, 2015 2:27 PM

djDaemon said:

You're not talking about a "no loose article" policy. You're talking about a "no articles policy" (so, you'd be allowed to wear clothes and that's it), which is of course not practical or enforceable.

And even if such a rule were practical and enforceable, it seems like an enormous overreaction to something that while tragic, doesn't really happen all that often, relatively speaking.

You are right, the policy wouldn't be enforceable. But offering free lockers for items while you are on rides could possible help prevent loss of these items while on the rides. But too many theme parks are worried about nickel-and-diming you these days to offer free lockers.....

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Monday, August 17, 2015 2:32 PM

So a man climbs over a fence and enters into a restricted area - an act that ignores all posted warnings and common sense and also requires one to actively work to put themselves in a dangerous situation - and gets killed and the problem is corporate greed?

Ok then.

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Monday, August 17, 2015 2:42 PM

C.R.E.A.M get the money. Dolla dolla bill, y'all.

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Monday, August 17, 2015 2:53 PM

Yeah, loose article policies and lockers is way overthinking this. How about everyone follow the universal rule of "if there's a fence around this, I'm not supposed to be there"?

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Monday, August 17, 2015 3:07 PM

super7* said:

...offering free lockers for items while you are on rides could possible help prevent loss of these items while on the rides.

This guy ignored common sense, a decorative fence, and a difficult-to-circumvent fence (complete with unmissable "DANGER" signs every 20 feet) to retrieve his phone. What on Earth makes you think he would have stored it in a locker, free or otherwise?

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Monday, August 17, 2015 3:47 PM

djDaemon said:

You're not talking about a "no loose article" policy. You're talking about a "no articles policy" (so, you'd be allowed to wear clothes and that's it), which is of course not practical or enforceable.

Tell that to Universal.

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2015/04/23/universal-permanently-inst...-coasters/

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Monday, August 17, 2015 3:54 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

So a man climbs over a fence and enters into a restricted area - an act that ignores all posted warnings and common sense and also requires one to actively work to put themselves in a dangerous situation - and gets killed and the problem is corporate greed?

Ok then.

Didn't say corporate greed was THE reason for this accident. Free lockers could prevent items flying off rides, which is a problem regardless of this accident. And yes, the most likely reason they aren't offered is because of $. Could a free locker have helped prevent this? Maybe.

There is no reason to berate the victim regardless.

Last edited by super7*, Monday, August 17, 2015 3:59 PM
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Monday, August 17, 2015 4:12 PM

No one is berating the victim. We're berating his actions - which were asinine, destructive and damaging to all involved.

There is no fault to place anywhere except with the victim for those actions.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, August 17, 2015 4:20 PM
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