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Family of USU cyclist killed in slackline accident files lawsuit

Published: Thursday, May 1 2014 4:45 p.m. MDT

The parents of a Utah State University student killed last year when he rode his bicycle through a slackline has filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against the university and other parties involved.

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LOGAN — The parents of a Utah State University student killed last year when he rode his bicycle through a slackline have filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against the university and other parties involved.

On Aug. 26, 2013, Eric Anderson, 24, of West Jordan, was riding his bike down Old Main Hill on campus when he ran into a slackline — a rope tied between two trees that people use for tightrope walking. The line was suspended about chest height.

The lawsuit names the three people who had set up the slackline, Tyler Bladen, Brandon Burger and Kellen Bell, as well as university officials whom the parents claim did nothing to order the removal of the slackline.

Anderson was riding his bicycle at a high rate of speed when the accident happened, according to court documents.

"At that time, Bladen, Burger and Bell were not using the slackline, but were talking and watching university employees set up a movie screen," the suit states. "Bladen, Burger and Bell did nothing to warn others that they had put up the slackline. Bladen, Burger and Bell were standing a distance away from one end of the higher slackline. Eric could not have seen the slackline until he was too near to use his brakes."

The suit states that Anderson's trachea was immediately severed. He was pronounced dead 2 ½ hours after the accident.

In their suit, the parents contend that the defendants "should have anticipated that a student cycling through the area may not be aware that a slackline had been set up and had a duty to take reasonable steps to protect the student."

Anderson's parents said their son had a 3.0 GPA, played trumpet in the marching band, and "had an expectation to earn at least $2 million dollars throughout his life." The family is asking for a little over $2 million in their suit.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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