Even as Reliant Stadium prepped to host a high school football game on Friday night, officials held a somber press conference to reveal more details about the falling death of a fan.
Twenty-five-year-old Jonathan Kelly is the fan who plunged three levels to his death — around 60 feet — during the third quarter of Thursday night's preseason game between the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings. Kelly was trying to slide down the railing of a long, tall escalator at the 600 level, the highest regular seating level in the stadium.
Kelly reportedly landed face first onto the concrete on Reliant's third level. He was rushed to Memorial Hermann Southwest, where he was pronounced dead.
A source close to Kelly, who asked not to be identified, tells CultureMap that the 25-year-old was at the game with a group of friends all around his age. With the fourth and final game of the Texans preseason — typically the least interesting game of the preseason as all the starters sit out — into the second half, Kelly and his friends took to the escalators.
Kelly reportedly landed face first onto the concrete. He was rushed to Memorial Hermann Southwest where he was pronounced dead.
"We want to express our deep sadness at this tragic accident," Jamey Rootes, the president of the Texans, said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young man."
The escalator that Kelly plunged off of at the Coca-Cola entrance (northeast side of the stadium) will be closed for tonight's high school game and likely for Saturday's college football game between Texas Southern University and Prairie View A&M.
"We're going to make sure all the equipment is working," Reliant Park general manager Mark Miller said. "It's going to be shut down and put out of service until the technicians have gone through everything. We have events tonight.
"It will be closed tonight. It should be reopen next week."
A toxicology report is being conducted to determine if alcohol or drugs were in Kelly's system.
In May of 2011, a 27-year-old fan at Coors Field in Denver fell 20 feet to his death while attempting to slide down the railing of a stadium escalator. In that stadium accident, a coroner determined that alcohol played a "significant role."
Closer to home, Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone — a firefighter at a game with his 9-year-old son — lost his balance and fell over a railing in the left field stands to his death while trying to catch a ball tossed to him by Rangers star Josh Hamilton at the Ballpark in Arlington last summer.