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Story highlights

James A. Young II lost some belongings on the ride, then went to retrieve them

Part of the Raptor at Cedar Point in Sandusky roller coaster struck him

Cedar Point is one of northern Ohio's top destinations, with 17 coasters

CNN —  

A teacher who had ridden one of Cedar Point’s renowned roller coasters lost some of his belongings on the ride, then got off to track them down – a decision that ultimately cost him his life.

That’s what police said happened early Thursday evening at the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park, where part of the Raptor roller coaster struck James A. Young II of East Canton.

Young, a 45-year-old special-education teacher, had been at the park with friends when he hopped on the Raptor around 5 p.m., Sandusky Assistant Police Chief Phil Frost told reporters.

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Young lost his cell phone and wallet on the ride, according to his mother.

According to Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards, “Park safety officials responded immediately to the situation. Unfortunately, the guest has passed away.”

No one else was injured in the incident, according to Frost.

Theme park ride breaks, sends riders flying

As one of the top attractions in north-central Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, Cedar Point has attracted legions of visitors since opening 146 years ago – a fact that makes it North America’s second oldest continually operated amusement park, according to its website.

Roller coasters are a big part of the draw, with Cedar Point boasting more than 10 miles of track and claiming to be the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

Raptor is one of Cedar Park’s 17 coasters, twisting people up, down and around at speeds reaching 57 mph, though Frost didn’t say how fast it was going at the time of the incident.