The man killed by a roller coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, was a fifth-grade school teacher and had just gotten his dream job as a guidance counselor at a local high school. James A. Young, 45, from East Canton, Ohio, was a frequent visitor to the popular amusement park. He’d go every summer to the hot spot located on the shores surrounded by Lake Erie.
Young died while trying to retrieve his cellphone in a restricted section of a ride known as the Raptor. He’d just gotten off the thrill ride when he was struck by one of the cars flying down the rails. He died instantly.
The victim’s mother, Brenda Young, spoke with the Washington Post about her son.
“That was one of his favorite places to go. He went there every summer with his friends. It was a fun time for him. Just a little break before school started in a couple weeks.”
WEWS News Channel 5 posted a photo of James Young on Twitter, as seen above. He was a “wonderful, wonderful person,” his mother adds.
The Raptor was opened 20 years ago at Cedar Point. Only one other injury has happened on the amusement ride, and that was earlier this year when someone tried squeezing through a gate that was already closed, suffering a leg injury. In 2009, a teenager felt “faint” while on the ride and was taken to the hospital.
The man killed by the roller coaster Thursday night was struck by the ride at approximately 5 p.m., according to Cedar Point. Young had apparently jumped a fence and went beneath the coaster to pick up his dropped item.
Although the Raptor was closed immediately following the roller coaster death, the rest of Cedar Point remained open, the Sandusky Register reported. Another ride, known as the Blue Streak, was also closed for about an hour after the tragedy.
It’s also noted in the report that a rally had just wrapped up during a foundation event that included NBA star Lebron James. There were five events planned the same day for the Lebron James Family Foundation.
Sandusky Police Assistant Chief Phil Frost declined to reveal what injuries Young sustained after being struck by the ride. He’s asking anyone who witnessed the incident to contact Sandusky Police Detective Dana Newell at 419-627-5877.
No other fatalities at Cedar Point are known to have occurred at the park aside from the man who was killed by the roller coaster on Thursday.
[Photo Credit: WEWS News Channel 5/Twitter]