POSTED: Monday, July 12, 2010 - 7:33pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 8:21am
When 21 year old Lindsay Zeno stepped onto the "Xtreme" rollercoaster Sunday afternoon, no one expected that ride to be her last.
But it was. As the "Xtreme" raced down the tracks witnesses say Zeno's shoulder restraints unlocked. The witnesses say Zeno tried to hold the safety straps down, but was thrown from her seat - as high up as 30 feet.
Zeno lived with her brother in Lafayette. Her neighbor, Jermal Johnson, remembers Zeno's smile.
"She was a real good neighbor. You know, always cordial, spoke with everybody, said hello," Johnson said.
Johnson heard about the accident but was shocked to learn the tragedy hit so close to home.
"It seems like they would be really safe, you know, you wouldn't think any accidents would happen like this," he said.
We went to Lafayette today to find out more about the life behind the tragedy. We found strangers coming together at Zeno's alma mater, Northside High School. Her former math teacher Denise Lotief said she will remember Zeno's smile and sense of humor.
Lotief remembers Zeno as "always surrounded by friends; just a good person, fun to be around."
The school is fielding calls today from students and friends who are shocked that Zeno is gone.
Lotief, who is now the school's Assistant Principal says Northside will be there to offer comfort and condolences.
"Our offices will be open all week for anyone who wants to come in," Lotief said. She is especially concerned for Zeno's family, saying "the whole Northside Community is praying for them. we believe that Lindsay is fine, but our heart does go out to them."
EBRSO has listed Zeno's death as accidental. The Fire Marshall's office is conducting a thorough investigation of the ride. It will not reopen until deemed safe by that office.
The Coroner's office told NBC 33 they expect to complete their investigation of Zeno's death Tuesday.
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