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Utah State student's family gets $172,500 in slackline death

By Lindsay Whitehurst - Associated Press  |  Posted May 19th, 2017 @ 11:30am



SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah State University has agreed to pay $172,500 to the parents of a student killed four years ago when he hit a slackline rope tied between two trees while he was biking on campus, according to documents released by the university following a public records request.

The university and Eric Anderson's parents last week declined to disclose the amount paid as part of their legal settlement, citing a confidentiality agreement. The settlement also includes an agreement for the university to caution students about the dangers of using slacklines.

The amount was revealed Thursday after the Associated Press and other media outlets filed public records requests seeking documents about the settlement

Anderson, 24, was on his way home from band practice on the first day of school on Aug. 26, 2013, when he slammed into a chest-high slackline that three students had tied between trees to practice balancing. He died of cardiac arrest after the slackline severed his trachea, said Carvel Anderson, the student's father.

Anderson's parents originally sought $2 million in monetary damages.

The family is planning to donate the money to missions run by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or possibly establish a scholarship fund at the university, Carvel Anderson said.

He said the family's main goal in filing the lawsuit was to prevent future slackline accidents.

"We don't want to stop slacklining, but let's be careful," Carvel Anderson said.

Utah State also agreed as part of the settlement to provide free safety cones for students to use around the areas where they set up slacklines and to warn all incoming freshmen about possible slackline dangers.

Other universities have changed their slackline policies since learning about the lawsuit, said Ricky Shelton, the attorney for Eric Anderson's parents.

The lawsuit claims the three students who put up the slackline should have taken it down when they finished using it, and that the university put up no barriers to protect cyclists or pedestrians from slacklines. The three students were originally listed as additional defendants in the lawsuit but were later removed.

Lawyers defending the university claimed Eric Anderson was riding his bike fast with defective brakes.

USU spokesman Tim Vitale called the student's death "extremely tragic" and said university officials are pleased to resolve the case with a settlement.

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