Coroner: Head injury killed teen

ERIE, Pa. Snowboarder Greg Jacobs died from "blunt force trauma to the head" after a Monroeville High School trip to a New York ski resort, a coroner has ruled. Erie County (Pa.) Coroner Lyell Cook said no autopsy was necessary of the 18-year-old senior who was pronounced dead at 6:19 a.m. Tuesday at Hamot Medical Center.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

 

ERIE, Pa. Snowboarder Greg Jacobs died from "blunt force trauma to the head" after a Monroeville High School trip to a New York ski resort, a coroner has ruled.

Erie County (Pa.) Coroner Lyell Cook said no autopsy was necessary of the 18-year-old senior who was pronounced dead at 6:19 a.m. Tuesday at Hamot Medical Center.

"There's nothing to suggest it was anything more than an accident," Cook said.

A medical helicopter flew Jacobs from Peek 'n Peak Resort & Conference Center to the Erie, Pa. hospital after the snowboarding fall the afternoon of March 8. The Findley Lake, N.Y. ski resort is southeast of the trauma center.

Jacobs was on one of Peek 'n Peak's most challenging slopes at the time of what the coroner has ruled was an accident. Monroeville Local Schools Superintendent Carol Girton declined to describe Jacobs as an experienced snowboarder, but said students described him as "pretty good."

Peek 'n Peak Manager Brad Gravink admitted earlier this week that "we really don't know what happened," but said a witness reported Jacobs "landed on his back and then rolled onto his stomach."

Jacobs was unconscious, but alive, after he went over a ski jump and fell.

The resort is not considered liable, Gravink said, because all the participants attached tickets to their jackets stating they "assumed the risk involved in the sport."

New skiers and snowboarders took lessons before heading to the slopes. There also 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 Monroeville students to stop what they were doing if the supervisors witnessed reckless behavior.

Cook said Jacobs' death is only the second skiing-related fatality he has encountered since being elected coroner in 1999.

"I don't recall there being anymore than that," he added. "It's not a very common occurrence."

Cook assumed the position of Erie County (Pa.) Coroner in 2000, after having been a deputy coroner there since 1984.

Girton said Jacobs is the first student to die during or as the result of a Monroeville school trip since she became superintendent in 1999. The senior class has been taking ski trips for the last five years and there have been other trips for at least eight years.

"The students are doing well," Girton said, adding that they have been talking amongst themselves and several have spoken to counselors.

"In respect of Greg's family and my staff and students, I have no further comments as of now," the superintendent said.

Jacobs' mother, Teresa, declined to be interviewed.

Greg Jacobs was a Bellevue resident who lived outside of the Monroeville Local School District and had been an open enrollment student for the past two years.