An 18-year-old from Spokane Valley was killed late Friday in the Incredible Corn Maze at Hauser Lake when a bus inside the maze struck him, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.
Jeremy T. McSpadden Jr. was acting as a role-player inside the maze’s zombie attraction, the Sheriff’s Office said. He died at the scene.
The longtime Halloween attraction added a “zombie slayer bus” feature this year, where paying guests shoot at attacking “zombies” with paintball guns mounted on the outside of the converted school bus.
Witnesses said McSpadden came out of his hiding spot and rushed toward the moving bus, said Sgt. Ward Crawford. He then stumbled and fell directly in front of the passenger side rear tires of the converted school bus, Crawford said.
Witnesses told investigators that the bus was moving so slowly that the speed did not register on the speedometer. Passengers inside the bus did not realize that McSpadden had been run over because of the bumpy ride, Crawford said. He was discovered by other role players as they reset for the next bus.
The incident took place at 10:30 p.m. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Incredible Corn Maze posted a message on their Facebook account Saturday morning announcing that all attractions will be closed for the weekend.
“We are sorry to announce that all attractions, including the free drive inn movie has been cancelled for the remainder of the weekend,” the attraction’s Facebook page said. “We are very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. Please check back as we will continue to make posts regarding operations. Thank you.”
McSpadden was a senior at West Valley High School. School district spokeswoman Sue Shields said the district’s crisis team was mobilized Saturday and Principal John Custer had been in touch with the family to offer assistance.
A team of counselors will be brought into the high school when classes resume Monday. “There will be places for students to go in case they need to leave class,” Shields said.
McSpadden’s twin sister also attends the school and an older brother is a recent graduate. “He had family there and lots of friends,” Shields said. “He was very involved. He was on the baseball team. It’s going to hit our West Valley family very hard.”
An accidental death like this is the “worst possible tragedy,” Shields said.
“We’ll do our best to support and nurture everybody through this tragic loss. We’re close and we’re tight knit. It hits us all hard when we lose one of our own.”
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