MONROEVILLE — The 18-year-old Monroeville High School senior who died from injuries he sustained in a snowboarding fall Thursday afternoon was on one of the resort's most difficult slopes at the time.
Bellevue resident Greg Jacobs, of 515 Killbourne St., died Tuesday at Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., where he had been taken by a medical helicopter after the accident. Lucia Conti, the Hamot manager of media relations, referred medical questions to Erie County (Pa.) Coroner Dr. Lyle Cook, who was at a conference through today.
“We really don’t know what happened,” said Brad Gravink, manager of Peek ‘n Peak Resort & Conference Center in Findley Lake, N.Y., where the seniors were having a class trip last week.
“There was one person (who) was a witness to it,” Gravink said. “His statement was that (Jacobs) landed on his back and then rolled onto his stomach.”
It’s believed Jacobs went over a ski jump while snowboarding and landed on the ground, the resort manager said. Jacobs was unconscious, but alive, immediately after the fall.
Monroeville Local Schools Superintendent Carol Girton described Jacobs as an experienced snowboarder. “The kids said he was pretty good,” she added.
Both Girton and Gravink said the students followed proper procedures while on the slopes.
New skiers or snowboarders took lessons before heading to the slopes. All the participants attached tickets to their jackets that said they “assumed the risk involved in the sport.”
Gravink also noted there were signs at the ticket booths that the students had to read before they went skiing or snowboarding.
The four school chaperones and the ski patrol members were empowered to tell the students to stop what they were doing if they witnessed reckless behavior, Girton added.
Peek ‘n Peak does not assume liability in Jacob’s death, the manager said, because “skiing can be a dangerous sport.” Gravink said authorities near the resort are not involved because they don’t have jurisdiction over skiing accidents.
Girton said Jacobs was the first student who has died during or as the result of a Monroeville school trip since she was hired in 1999. The senior class had been taking ski trips for the last five years and there have been other trips for at least eight years.
The superintendent called Jacobs’ death “a terrible accident.”
However, Girton expects the senior trips to continue. “I don’t think this will change our policies,” she said.
Girton released a prepared statement Tuesday morning, confirming Jacobs’ death.
“Our hearts go out to his family, friends and classmates in the school district and specifically, his classmates in the Future Farmers of America for their loss. Not only will Greg be missed by us, but I am sure by the many people who knew him through the community service projects of which he was a part,” she wrote.
The superintendent had no information on the surgeries he may have had. Jacobs’ parents couldn’t be reached for comment this morning.
Jacobs was an open enrollment student, meaning he lived outside of the Monroeville Local School District, for the past two years.
A full obituary appears in today's Reflector.