A fan attending Thursday night’s preseason finale between the Houston Texans and the visiting Minnesota Vikings fell to his death while horsing around on an escalator at Reliant Stadium.
Twenty-five-year-old Jonathan Kelly was pronounced dead at a nearby Houston hospital after trying to slide down the outside of the handrail on the escalator near the northeast side of the stadium when he lost his balance and fell three stories, landing on the pavement, police said.
CPR was administered on the scene, but Kelly died at the hospital, according to Houston police. Sports Radio 610’s website reported that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fall.
Many fans were understandably stunned by the incident.
“I saw the aftermath. I was outside taking a cigarette and we saw them loading him up on the stretcher, sticking him in the car. There were about 15 HPD officers and EMTs near him,” fan Jared Bellr told a local TV station.
“It’s sad. My heart goes out to the family. Me and family recently lost a loved one, our daughter,” said fan Amanda Castro. “This year will be two years so when you are having fun — it’s just unfortunate, unexpected tragedy that happens.”
Reliant Park issued a statement, confirming an escalator incident involving a fan, but spokeswoman Nina Jackson was unable to provide further details.
A news conference about the matter is scheduled for today.
Kelly’s death comes just more than a year after Shannon Stone fell to his death during a Texas Rangers baseball game in Arlington in July 2011.
The 39-year-old firefighter had grabbed a baseball tossed toward the stands by All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton when he toppled over the railing and fell about 20 feet to concrete below. Cooper Stone, his 9-year-old son, witnessed the second-inning tragedy.
In April, a statue of Stone and his son was dedicated to Rangers fans in front of the home plate gate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Railings also were raised throughout the ballpark before this season.