Local News

ECU student dies after being impaled by fence post

Posted April 24, 2013
Updated April 25, 2013

— A 21-year-old student at East Carolina University died early Wednesday after being impaled by a fence post behind University Manor Apartments on East 10th Street, Greenville police said.

Investigators said Jonathan Scott Bennett, of Wilson, was walking across a downed tree in the woods behind the complex about 1 a.m. when he slipped, fell 6 to 8 feet and landed on a waist-high metal post sticking out of the ground.

The post was apparently there as part of a debris fence that had been in place since the apartment complex was constructed, police said.

Authorities said Bennett was impaled from the lower left back to upper right chest, and investigators believe he died almost instantly. An autopsy will be performed.

Bennett had been hanging out on the overturned tree with four friends before getting up to return to the apartments. His friends attempted to help him but were unsuccessful.

No foul play is suspected in Bennett's death, but police said the group had been drinking.

ECU student dies after fall on fence ECU student dies after fall on fence

Bennett, a geographic information science and technology student, enrolled at ECU in 2010 after graduating from Fike High School. Former teachers and classmates said he meant the world to them.

"It's kind of like losing that family member that makes your world go round," Bennett's friend, Stephen Pender, said. "I still don't believe it right now."

Chorus teacher Kathy Sherrod said Bennett had a passion and knack for music and had a distinguished high school career, having attended the North Carolina Governor's School. By his senior year, he was president of the school's chorus program.

"He was a good guy, an all-around good guy," Sherrod said. "He had everything going for him."


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  • UPTOP May 3, 2013

    My prayers go out to this Family !

  • moomoo May 1, 2013

    A person died--does it matter if the wording is "on" or "by"?

  • pappy1 Apr 29, 2013

    "On" or "by" a fencepost? There is a difference.

  • ashewing Apr 25, 2013

    So sad. Only the good die young. Can't imagine what the family is going through. Praying for strength for the family during this difficult time.

  • MitziGaynor Apr 24, 2013

    What a horrible tragedy. It's just heart breaking.

    I can imagine we've all done something that we look back on and realize how lucky we were.

    Just unimaginable. Prayer and thoughts to family and friends.

  • love4u004 Apr 24, 2013

    I just would like to say that I am praying for that young man. I saw it on the news and thought about my son because he live in that apartment. So when I called him to see if he knew the young man, he told me that he was one of the guys that was with him. My heart just fell to my feet. All I could do was say oh my goodness, it could have been him. I am feeling real down right now because I am here in Fayetteville and my son is there in Greenville. God be with that young man's family.

  • whyalltheproblems Apr 24, 2013

    oh how Horrible :(((. his poor family.
    my heart goes out to them and to his friends who will sadly carry this with them forever. there are not many words

  • Mom2two Apr 24, 2013

    What a tragic freak accident. Must just have been "his time." No other real explanation.

  • uragoner2 Apr 24, 2013

    To those who witnessed it, friends and family, may God be with you in dealing with this

  • LordHelpUsAll Apr 24, 2013

    That's horrifying for him, his family, and his friends. So very sorry for your loss in this incredibly freak accident.