*The end of the summer typically includes final barbecues and a return to school among the season’s events.
After an annual trip to an amusement park, one Ohio family will add a funeral to their schedule.
James A. Young, 45, was killed yesterday at Cedar Point after being struck by the Raptor roller coaster in a restricted, secured area. He was searching for personal items which had fallen from his pocket while riding the ride minutes before.
Young had just landed his dream job as a high school guidance counselor. According to his mother, Brenda Young, his wallet and cell phone fell out of his pocket during the ride. He saw where they fell, she said, and in what she called “a thoughtless moment”, he climbed over a fence into the restricted area to try to retrieve them after he got off of the ride.
“I know he’d never in a million years thought that something like that would have happened,” Brenda Young told the Washington Post.
In a prepared statement, Cedar Point spokesperson Bryan Edwards confirmed the details of the accident:
“At approximately 5pm yesterday, a guest entered a restricted, fenced area of the Raptor roller coaster and was struck by the ride. Park safety officials responded immediately to the situation. Unfortunately the guest has passed away. We are deeply saddened by the loss to Mr. Young’s family and our thoughts and prayers remain with them.”
The Raptor remained closed for the remainder of the day yesterday, while the park remained open. The Raptor is back in operation today, as Cedar Point maintains that the accident was not the result of mechanical failure.
“Safety is always our highest priority at Cedar Point and we will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to provide an enjoyable, safe experience for all of our guest,” the park’s statement continues.
Just last week, Cedar Point scheduled a “record-breaking and history-making” announcement event for the media on August 18. That event was postponed this afternoon, and park officials thanked invitees for their “patience and understanding.”
Brenda Young told the Post that her son lived right around the corner from her, and that he was looking forward to his new career as a guidance counselor.
“He was just ecstatic about school starting and this opportunity to get his feet wet,” she said. “He was a really special person…I’m not sure how we’ll go on without him.