Family unsure why man killed by roller coaster climbed fence

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 16, 2015

SANDUSKY (AP) — Family members do not know why an Ohio man struck and killed by a roller coaster after climbing over a security fence would have risked injury to retrieve belongings that he lost while he was on the ride, the man’s aunt said.

James Young was killed Thursday at Cedar Point amusement park when a car from its Raptor coaster — or one of the passengers — struck him after he entered a restricted area to gather his fallen wallet and cellphone.

Young’s aunt, Deborah Mohr, told The Plain Dealer on Friday that her nephew was educated and responsible.

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“He wasn’t someone who would normally disobey the law,” Mohr told the newspaper.

Mohr said her 6-foot-6 nephew likely thought it easy to scale the fence, get his belongings, then climb back into the public area.

“He probably felt he could be over in a minute and be back,” Mohr said.

Young, of East Canton, was single and had recently accepted an offer to become a guidance counselor at a high school in Sebring, about 25 miles northeast of Canton, Mohr said. He had gone to Cedar Point with friends for an annual outing before the start of the school year, she said.

A Cedar Point spokesman said the ride resumed operations Friday after it was examined by state safety officials and found to be safe. The spokesman said he wouldn’t comment on whether any changes were being considered to the Raptor or the area around it.

Park officials emailed a statement on Friday that said because of Young’s death, a planned announcement on Tuesday about a new roller coaster to debut in 2016 would be delayed.