Horseplay is the stated cause of last night's fatal fall from a Reliant Stadium escalator of 25-year-old Jonathan Kelly, who allegedly tried to slide down the escalator's outside rail and fell three stories to the pavement below. Kelly - who was taken by private ambulance to a hospital, where he died, according to initial reports - was attending the Houston Texans' final preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings when the accident occurred near the Coca-Cola Gate at the northeast side of the stadium.
The fall appears eerily similar to one that took place in May 2011 at Coors Field in Denver, where 27-year-old Robert Seamans fell 20 feet to his death while attempting to slide down a stairway rail. A medical examiner's report released months later indicated that drugs and alcohol played a "significant" role in the accident. No links to drugs or alcohol have thus far been reported in the Kelly case.
"Most accidents on escalators are caused by misuse," an escalator industry spokesperson told AB in 2008, after 36-year-old Antonio Narainasami's fatal four-story fall from an escalator rail at Shea Stadium in New York. "When they're maintained and used properly, they're a very safe conveyance."
That fall was the second from an escalator in the now defunct Shea's 45-year history. The old Yankee Stadium experienced one in 1999, and mechanical escalator failures have caused injury at the former Giants Stadium (2000 and 2007), Miami's then Pro Player Stadium (2000) and Coors Field (2003).