Indiana State Fair Tragedy’s Death Toll Rises to Seven
The death toll from the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair will today rise to seven. The family of 24-year-old Meagan Toothman, a cheerleading coach from Ohio, says they have decided to "allow her to be at peace." Meagan suffered severe brain injuries when hit by the scaffolding that came crashing down in the almost 80 mile per hour winds, just minutes before Sugarland were set to take the stage. She has been on life support since the tragedy, and her family has signed off on an organ donation surgery today (August 22).
Five people died at the scene of the August 13 tragedy, and one other passed away from her injuries this past Friday, August 19. Sugarland paid tribute to the victims with a moment of silence at their show last week in Albuquerque, N.M.
"I am sure that by now all of you are well aware of the tragedy that occurred at the Indiana State Fair on Saturday," Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles said from the stage. "Moments before we were about to take the stage, a huge gust of wind blew in and collapsed the entire stage, wounding over forty people and killing five. In honor of those people who were wounded, and those beautiful lives that were lost, we ask that you would stand now and join us in a moment of silence."
While several lawsuits are pending on behalf of the victims and their families, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels believes unpredictable weather is the only thing to blame.
"This is the finest event of its kind in America," Daniels said (quote via ABC affiliate WJLA). "And this desperately sad, as far as I can tell fluke event, doesn't change that."
Sugarland are planning a private memorial for families of the victims. "Until that time we are holding vigil for them," the duo say. "We join them on their mourning benches. And we stand in the gap asking God to offer them peace and healing. For those suffering from injury, we hold you up with prayers for complete healing of your own."