Local News

Raleigh 6-Year-Old Dies After Fall From Bleachers

Posted May 2, 2002

— A six-year-old Raleigh girl who died after a 20-foot fall from stadium-style bleachers at Cary High School was laid to rest Wednesday.

Family members said Sarah Hathaway was in the stands as her father, Fred, was coaching the Grace Christian School track team Friday.

They said the volunteer coach watched helplessly from the field as his daughter fell through a gap in the bleachers, hitting her head on the ground.

Hathaway rushed Sarah to the hospital, but she never regained consciousness. She was taken off life support on Saturday.

"What we hope and pray is that schools will take notice and do something about that kind of thing so it doesn't happen in the future," Hathaway said.

"He and his family hold no ill will against the school board or the school system or anything like that. They are viewing this as an accident. Like many accidents, perhaps it could have been prevented. I understand that steps are being taken so it can be prevented in the future," said Pastor Randy Carter of North Haven Church.

The accident happened as the Wake County School System was working to make the seats safer. Earlier this year, the school system had the state examine all of its bleachers.

It was recommended that Cary High install metal to fill in gaps in its bleachers. That metal was on order prior to the accident, and is scheduled to be installed in about two weeks.

North Carolina does not have rules regarding bleachers, Some states, like Minnesota, require all bleachers to have gaps filled in, so no one will fall through. It took a tragic accident for the law in Minnesota to happen.

Cary's field is open to anyone who wants to use it. No one from Cary High was supervising Friday's practice.


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