'Not a stunt' say parents of college student injured in party bus fall

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The parents of a Minnesota State University Mankato college student critically injured after falling off a bus say he didn't hang onto the bumper as a stunt. In a statement, the parents of Dylan Smyth, 21, said he was hanging on the back of the bus because it was full and he couldn't get in it.

The Mankato Free Press had details of the statement from Paul and Troy Smyth, the parents of the student. Smyth received serious head injuries after falling from the bus near downtown Mankato at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. The parents said their son made "a number of good decisions" that night, including not driving home.

"Dylan made two attempts to board the “sober bus.” Unfortunately, the bus was full. His attempt to ride on the back of the bus was not a stunt — it was an effort to get home," said the statement from Paul and Troy Smyth, father and mother of 21-year-old Dylan Smyth. It was released through Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

KEYC reports that the Late Night Express is a service provided by the city of Mankato to provide a safe ride home and makes regular trips between the downtown area and campus. The station broadcast surveillance video of the bus as it traveled city streets near downtown Mankato around 2:40 a.m. on Sunday. It shows a figure of a man hanging on the rear bumper . The bus traveled several blocks before he fell off. He was found in the intersection.
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Cmdr. Jeremy Clifton of the Mankato Department of Public Safety told the newspaper that police could not confirm whether or not the bus was at capacity.

"However, attempts to ride on the outside of a vehicle just because a transit facility is at capacity is obviously not the way to conduct personal behavior," Clifton said. "It's clear there would have been alternatives besides driving home."

The Late Night Express started in 2004 is commonly called the “drunk bus” but would more aptly be nicknamed the “sober bus” – it does not transport students to the bars, just home, according to the city’s website. The bus charges $1 to bring revelers from downtown Mankato back to the school and off-campus housing.

"We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support, positive thoughts and prayers we have received during this difficult time. Dylan is a very strong and resilient young man. He is an accomplished student, and we are very proud of our son," the statement from Smyth's parents said.

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