INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – August 13 marks the five year anniversary of the deadly state fair stage collapse. Seven people were killed and 58 others injured during an outdoor concert when a wind gust from an approaching storm ripped the roof of a temporary stage, causing the structure to come crashing down on a crowd of people.
Tracy Snowberger was there that night and says her injuries became a blessing.
“I was super excited because we had really good seats we were gonna be down in the front row,” recalls Snowberger. The popular country group Sugarland was holding a concert at the state fair grandstand and Snowberger was like many fans the night of August 13, 2011. Tracy and her friend Charity were ready for a fun night. “The last I remember it was 5 minutes and Sugarland was gonna be out and everybody was pretty psyched about that,” said Snowberger. Just moments later that would all change.
A gust of wind from an approaching storm hit the temporary stage. Rigging came crashing down on the crowd below where Tracy was standing. “Something drew my attention up. It must have been the rip of the tarp on the top. I remember it ripped from the corner and that corner started to peel back and I looked up, I saw that and said, Oh my God, run! The last memory I have is seeing my foot move and then I wake up and I`m under the seats,” said Snowberger.
When Tracy woke up she had a neck brace on and was confused and scared. She was rushed to a downtown hospital. Her left foot was crushed and her right foot swollen battered and bruised. Tracy also had two severe cuts on her head that would require more than 20 staples, but she was thankful to be alive and thankful to those that helped her and others that night. “That was a tragic accident and you look back and you see so many people who pulled together- who ran back to help people out. That had to be a horrific scene.”
Tracy recovered at home in northwest Indiana and was unable to work for three months and got to spend time with her three sons, Eric, Andrew and 11-year-old Cody. ‘I didn`t know what was coming in the future, so those three months were pretty amazing,” said Snowberger.
In October, Cody relapsed for a third time. His cancer was back. “I got to spend time with him that I wouldn`t have gotten to spend with him if I had not been hurt,” said Snowberger. Tracy healed and returned to work and spend her spare time at Cody`s side until he passed away in April shortly after his 12th birthday. “So I look at it as a blessing. That`s the only way you can look at things like that, you know?”
Tracy`s friends, family and faith helped her through. The tragedy at the fair and the loss of her son makes her appreciate life so much more. “It just makes you realize life is short and you just don`t know. I`m doing really well since then,” said Snowberger. Tracy says her thoughts and prayers are with all the families affected and with those who helped rescue her that night.