published Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Family sues Utah State over son's death on campus

LOGAN, Utah — A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a Utah college student who was killed when he hit a rope tied between two trees known as a "slack line" while riding his bike.

The lawsuit names the Utah State University president, the campus police chief and the three students who set up the slack line in August 2013 to practice their balance.

Eric Scott Anderson, 24, slammed into the chest-high line on the Logan campus, authorities said. He died a few hours later at the hospital.

Anderson's family now seeks more than $2 million in damages, according the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The family contends the three students should have taken down the line when they finished, and that the university is responsible for keeping the campus safe. The university did not put up any barriers to protect cyclists or pedestrians from slack lines, nor did it issue any warnings, the lawsuit states.

Slack lines are often used by climbers to practice their balance.

The students who set up the slack line at Utah State University had stopped using it and were instead standing a distance away. They were talking and watching university workers, and when Anderson hit the rope, they called for help and assisted with first aid, the lawsuit said.

Utah State University spokesman Tim Vitale had no comment on the lawsuit because the school had not been served yet as of late Friday morning.

"This was an extremely tragic accident, and our hearts continue to go out to this young man's family and friends and everyone involved in this very tragic accident," Vitale said.

The Herald Journal in Logan first reported the lawsuit Thursday.

Anderson was riding his bike on campus when he turned off a sidewalk, rode through grassy area between trees and didn't see the line, authorities said.

The slack line, which was about 52 inches off the ground, flipped Anderson off his bike and caused him to land on his head and shoulder about 10 feet away, according to the lawsuit.

He was taken to Logan Regional Hospital, where he died, police said.

Anderson, from the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan, was a music major and member of the school's marching band.

Anderson's encounter with one of the slack lines occurred just hours after most students were finishing classes on the first day of the fall semester.

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