ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – The trial continues for a Buffalo Bills fan who fell from the upper deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium and onto a fan below.
A written statement from Rob Hopkins was presented and two more witnesses testified Friday.
Prosecutors called Buffalo Bills fan John Deeks to the stand first. Deeks was sitting in the same section where Hopkins was sliding down the railing. Deeks says he and other fans asked Hopkins to stop sliding down the railing but he didn’t. Hopkins then kept doing it and moments later injured fan Mark Bratcher.
However, during cross examination Hopkins defense attorney asked the witness if he mentioned all of that in his original written statement. Deeks said no, he didn’t write that he asked Hopkins to stop.
The next witness was retired Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Doyle. Doyle explained that he spoke with Hopkins after the incident. He said Hopkins told him he slid down the railing and that he didn’t mean to fall, but that the “funny thing was” that he had slid down the railing about nine times before falling.
Doyle says he also asked Hopkins to write a statement. Doyle read it aloud in court, saying Hopkins wrote, “I was intoxicated. I lost my grip and fell. I didn’t mean to. I’m lucky to be okay.”
Hopkins defense attorney maintains that his client committed an accident not a crime.
Expert testimony later in the afternoon also explained just how powerful that fall from the upper deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium may have been, and the force of the blow to Bratcher.
Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Ely said his investigation into the fall determined Hopkins fell at a speed of just over 24 miles per hour.
At 190 lbs, his formulations showed the impact on Bratcher was equivalent to 3,760 pounds. Prosecutors said that was enough to cause spinal damage to Bratcher.