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Teen Employee Killed on ‘Haunted Hayride’ Attraction

October 22, 1990 GMT

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) _ A teen-ager who pretended to hang from a gallows as part of a Halloween hayride died while performing the stunt over the weekend.

Hayride customers found the body of Brian Jewell, 17, about 8 p.m. Saturday, hanging from the gallows, his feet on the ground.

The the stunt had worked other nights and there was no indication of foul play, Prosecutor James W. Holzapfel said. The gallows was being checked for flaws and an autopsy was performed Monday.

″The way it’s supposed to work is he’s supposed to have the noose around his neck, but it’s not a noose that tightens,″ said Holzapfel.

Jewell would step down about one foot to the ground, making it appear he had been hanged, Holzapfel said.

During the ride, about 40 people sit in a hay-filled wagon drawn by a tractor, which takes them past a number of Halloween fright exhibits.

The stunt went off without problems earlier Saturday. But the tractor driver became concerned later that evening when Jewell failed to give the speech he normally did as the wagon passed.

Preliminary autopsy results were expected Tuesday, said Lt. Michael R. Murray of the prosecutor’s office. Blood tests for drugs would take several weeks, Murray said.

The hayride, which had been conducted every night this month, was suspended after the death of Jewell, a junior at Tom’s River High School in southern New Jersey.

Telephone calls placed to Haunted Hayrides Inc., based outside Syracuse, N.Y., were not immediately returned.

An attorney representing the Lakewood Riding Center, where the ride was held, said his client had nothing to do with the Haunted Hayrides operation.