Man Dies After Being Hit by Roller Coaster at Cedar Point

Theme Park News

On Thursday evening a man died after he was struck by a roller coaster at Cedar Point. After riding the Raptor, James Young, jumped over a fence to retrieve his cell phone.
Restricted Area - Raptor Roller Coaster Accident - Cedar Point
Here are details from the park and police, via CNN:

Young, a 45-year-old special-education teacher, had been at the park with friends when he hopped on the Raptor around 5 p.m., Sandusky Assistant Police Chief Phil Frost told reporters.

Young lost his cell phone and wallet on the ride, according to his mother.

Young “jumped over a fence into a restricted area under the Raptor and was looking for his personal belongings,” Frost said. “(He) was struck by the Raptor train that was in operation.”

According to Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards, “Park safety officials responded immediately to the situation. Unfortunately, the guest has passed away.”

No one else was injured in the incident, according to Frost.

– CNN

My prayers go out to the family and friends of Young. Based on the CNN article, it sounds like he was a great teacher and will surely be missed.

Keep Out of Restricted Areas at Theme Parks

This isn’t the first time a guest was struck by a roller coaster after someone went into a restricted area. In 2009, a teen died after he was struck by Batman The Ride at Six Flags Over Georgia. Please remember, never go into restricted areas at theme parks.

Secure or Do Not Ride with Loose Articles

I’ll admit at times I’ve ridden with my cell phone in my pocket, but they’ve been in zippered cargo pockets. More and more, I’ve been leaving items in the bins in the station, assuming they’ll most likely be there when I return, or I’ve been leaving them with a non-rider as I did with Wild Eagle earlier this week.

I know that it’s a pain to leave things in lockers or with someone else, but if we want fast, exciting roller coasters we might have to part with our cell phones for a few moments. And please, do not create your own roller coasters videos with your cell phone. Leave it to the pros who have mounted their cameras on the trains. More on that here: Why I’m Against Sneaking Cameras on Roller Coasters & Some Alternatives

Parks are doing what they can to keep us safe, but riding with things that can fall from the train are really on us.

Might Parks Clamp Down on Loose Articles?

I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing more parks add metal detectors (like Universal Orlando) and possibly even prohibit riders from wearing items such as hats and sunglasses. Guests can be hit by objects that are flung from riders, these items can fall on the tracks, or guests can try to retrieve them as was the case here.

Bottom line: If you lose something on a ride ask park employees if they can retrieve any items for you. Or do not take items like cell phones and keys on roller coasters in the first place.

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

4 Comments

  1. Agreed. It’s sad and tragic that it happened, but yet it was completely preventable. Not securing items on a coaster with six inversions is a big mistake. Climbing into a restricted area while the coaster is running is even worse, and it cost him his life. You’d think a teacher would know better, honestly.

  2. Yes, please don’t take loose articles onto rides. I was almost struck by a phone that flew out of someones hand on Gatekeeper while I was waiting in line.

  3. That’s a posting full of inhstig!

  4. I agree with not going into an area where a multi-ton piece of metal is flying around at 75+mph BUT I also live in an area where articles aren’t really secured and can be stolen which makes riders want to bring along their valuables, BUT I say it would be nice if parks were to handout a small waterproof bag that can be worn around the neck with each ticket sold. Nothing special, just a piece of plastic with a small adjustable string. That MAY help… the reason I would say getting a park personnel isn’t always the best is because some amusement parks make you come back the next day to retrieve lost articles and when one of those is a wallet, that isn’t always feasible.

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