ABC 27 reported on a tragic collapse of a makeshift wooden dugout on a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, baseball field that resulted in the death of a 19-year-old college player.
The Central Penn College student, Angel Mercado-Ocasio, suffered traumatic head trauma when the dugout his teammates helped build collapsed.
The Cumberland County coroner ruled the incident an accident.
Mercado-Ocasio’s coach, Gerardo Diaz, was on the scene at the time of the accident and performed CPR for over three minutes. Angel regained consciousness before being transported to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries two days later.
The fatal accident occurred when Mercado-Ocasio was assisting in dismantling a makeshift dugout his teammates built without the required permits.
Coach Diaz told Fox 43 that “the city told them [to remove the dugout because] they didn’t have a permit to build on the property.”
Diaz was assisting in dismantling the dugout: “I tried my best to protect him,” he said. “I got mad at them, I told them to stop playing around but kids will be kids. I still feel responsible.”
Matt Maisel, the director of communications for the city of Harrisburg, noted city officials would not take legal action against the players or coach.
Central Penn College President Linda Fedrizzi-Williams released a statement:
“Our Central Penn College family is devastated by the loss of Angel. As friends who have become family, we are mourning the heart-wrenching loss of one of our own, a promising young athlete who senselessly lost his life while helping others enjoy the sport he loved so much.”
The Central Penn baseball team also released a statement:
“No words can adequately express our anguish. Our baseball team all said their goodbyes to Angel yesterday and expressed their love to their brother. We will all be changed because Angel is no longer with us, but we will also be changed because he was.
“It is with heavy hearts that we offer our sincere sympathy to Angel’s family, friends, teammates and coaches, who will bear the burden of his absence most acutely.”
Mayor Wanda Williams said Mercado-Ocasio’s death was “heart-wrenching” and called on Harrisburg residents to pray for Angel’s friends, family and teammates.
Mercado-Ocasio was born in Harrisburg. The freshman athlete played shortstop and second base.
Teammates described Angel as “one of the hardest working players.”
College counselors have been made available for grieving students and staff.
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