Cyclist collides with slackline in fatal Old Main Hill accident
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 17:09
A 24-year-old student cyclist died Monday evening after striking a slackline at the base of Old Main Hill while riding a bicycle down the grassy portion of the slope.
The slackline, a system of belt-like nylon straps similar to a tight rope held taught by pulleys to walk and perform stunts on, was erected between two trees and was being used, according to a press release from the USU Department of Public Safety.
The slackline was set up about 50 yards south of the cement stairway four feet above the ground when the man struck it at approximately 4:58 p.m.
Witnesses said the cyclist was not wearing a helmet.
Toban Knight, a USU student who witnessed the accident while setting up for the Week of Welcomeís Movie on Old Main event, said he saw the man ìcome flying down the hillî and strike the slackline.
ìIt looked like he was trying to duck ó like he noticed it, but it was too late,î Knight said. ìIíve never seen somebody hit the ground so hard in my life.î
Knight said it looked like there was ìa river of bloodî in the grass.
Upon impact, witness Jonathan Onlaughlin said he saw the man do a ìcomplete backflip.î Onlaughlin said the man was also carrying an instrument case, which he said struck the man in the head with significant force.
ìIt was horrible,î he said.
A man near the scene, who said he wished to remain anonymous, responded to calls for help and administered chest compressions for about a minute until emergency responders from the Logan City Police Department and Utah Highway Patrol arrived on scene.
Emergency medical technicians continued CPR on scene and attempted to resuscitate the man with an automated external defibrillator, Onlaughlin said.
The man was transported to Logan Regional Medical Center by ambulance, where he was later pronounced dead.
University Police Chief Steve Mecham said slacklines are a popular form of recreation on campus and there are no restrictions on the use of them on school grounds.
In response to the rising popularity of the sport, posts specifically designed for use anchoring slacklines were installed near the Aggie Legacy Fields.
University officials arranged for the Movie on Old Main to be shown indoors to facilitate the ongoing investigation at the scene. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences Light on the Hill ceremony took place, as scheduled, in the Old Main Amphitheatre Monday night.
Before the movie began, ASUSU President Doug Fiefia broke the news of the cyclistís death to the students gathered in the TSC Ballroom. With tears in his eyes, Fiefia called for a moment of silence.
ìWe just want everyone to be safe,î Fiefia said. ìJust make sure you have fun, and make sure as youíre out enjoying Week of Welcome in this wonderful week of activities that you are safe and doing everything cautiously. Please keep this young man and his family in your prayers.î
Mecham said the accident is under investigation.