An NFL fan, identified as 25-year old Jonathan Kelly, fell five stories to his death last night in Houston during the third quarter of the Texans/Vikings game. Witnesses said he was sliding down the rail of one of the outdoor escalators when he lost his balance.
Officials say Kelly was intoxicated at the time, and some are wondering if there is anything that can be done about the tragic number of falls which occur all too often at sports events. In the past ten years, nine accidents have occurred on sports escalators, and four deaths can be blamed on the victim trying to sit on or slide down a railing. In the wake of some incidents, many ballparks have raised railings for the safety of their patrons, but what can be done about fan behavior? There are no answers forthcoming, but park officials say they are doing what they can to ensure the safety of everyone who visits.
“We make sure they’re not overloaded and we try to operate them in the safest possible manner,” Mark Miller, General Manager of SMG Reliant Park, said of the escalators.
Park officials say they are investigating whether or not any further safety procedures need to be taken.
“We have our procedures in place, the league has a whole comprehensive set of best practices relative to fan behavior and stadium security,” Texans President Jamey Rootes said. “We’ve always been rated at the very highest level … I don’t know that anything changes.”