Investigation Launched Into Tragic RI Sledding Crash

(NECN: Eileen Curran, Providence, R.I.) - Seventeen-year-old Alexandria Alvarez, known as Allie to her friends and family, had gone sledding in Neutaconkanut Park in Providence, R.I. before without any problem. But, on Wednesday, something went terribly wrong.

Her mother, who was with her that day, told NECN Allie went only half way up the hill, and as she started down, she veered sharply to the right side and ended up crashing into a small tree.

Allie lacerated her liver, and despite the efforts of three surgeons, she died from internal bleeding.

"It’s not that safe, especially from that high up there," said Christian Pelaez, looking up the hill.

Pelaez brought his children, 12-year-old Julio and 6-year-old Marcia, to the park sledding on Tuesday, but wouldn’t let them go on the big hill after watching other kids go down it.

"Because the speed you know, that the people would reach over here, coming down (the) hill," he said.

"It was clearly an accident, an unfortunate situation," said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare.

City officials have since closed the hill. They put up a fence and have stationed a ranger there to make sure no one goes sledding on it until they complete their investigation.

"We’re going to thoroughly look at both the conditions and what happened, so it’s safe when we do open it back up," said Pare.

Allie’s mom said she hopes the city will fix it so no other sledder can go off the track as her daughter did.

Pelaez agrees.    

"I don't think it (has) to be closed because people need to come here for recreation," said Pelaez. "They just got to make it safer."

The city is looking at hills used for sledding in all city parks, but as of right now, the one at Neutaconkanut Park is the only one closed to sledding.

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