Feb 12, 2008

Fatal accident at football stadium

by Jennifer Schmidt
After crashing his car into the football operations building in William’s Stadium, James R. Dowdy, 61, of Lynch Station died on Saturday night. While driving north to exit Liberty’s campus around 8 p.m., Dowdy, “suffering from some sort of a medical condition,” crossed the median, struck the curb, jumped over the sidewalk and careened under the fence lining the rim of the stadium, according to Officer Ronnie Sitler of the Lynchburg Police Department.

Dowdy’s 2004 Chevrolet Malibu came to a rest after colliding with the east end of the building at the foot of the hill. “The car hit the wall and bounced back,” Sgt. Wes Erickson of the Liberty University Police Department said. “It was resting just inches away from the building.”

Since the fence was previously damaged, Dowdy’s vehicle was able to slip easily under it. “There was a gouged scratch from hood to trunk,” Erickson said, though overall damage was “not as extensive as I would have expected.”

Efforts to revive Dowdy by Lynchburg Fire & Emergency Medical Service were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead after arriving at Lynchburg General Hospital. The medical examiner announced Sunday that Dowdy had died of natural causes. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family – we pray the Lord’s blessing on that family,” Erickson said. Lynchburg’s Police investigators stated that Dowdy had no previous driving infractions. “He was clean as a whistle,” Sitler said.

The damaged wall of the football operations center, which houses the visitor’s locker room, will be knocked out and re-bricked due to substantial damage from the accident.

“There’s a hole the size of a vehicle,” Erickson said. The remainder of the building will remain intact. Contact Jennifer Schmidt at jschmidt@liberty.edu.
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