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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WALKER BROS CIRCUS PERFORMER INJURED SUNDAY

By Jenny Peterson Summerville, SC Journal Scene ®
Circus performer Tito Montoya was still in critical condition Tuesday morning after he fell 25 feet from a trapeze at a performance for the YMCA at The Ponds on Sunday afternoon.
Montoya was one of the featured trapeze artists in the Walker Bros. Circus, which made a stop in Summerville, SC last weekend.
Representatives from the Medical University of South Carolina said that Montoya was brought in on Sunday night and remained in critical condition Tuesday.
Dorchester County EMS Director Doug Warren, who attended the 4:30 p.m. circus performance with his granddaughter, said the man sustained severe head injuries during the fall.
“He missed a grip and fell,” Warren said.
More than 100 residents and children attended Sunday afternoon’s circus performance and saw the high-flying act go awry. Montoya apparently fell on his head in an area that was outside of the performance area, Warren said.
The show was stopped for 30 minutes after the fall, and then continued.
Summerville resident Patty Mayeaux said the crowd view of the accident was blocked because the man fell off to the side of the performance area and behind a red curtain.
“He was shielded from the kids, so they couldn’t see all the medical people working on him,” she said.
Mayeaux said between 10-15 people rushed up from their seats to help the man after he fell. Warren said the man looked to be in his 40s.
Dr. Chris Wimberly, a physician at Family Medicine, was one of the first responders from his seat.
“We made sure he was (not moved) and (was) stable and responsive,” Wimberly said. “We made sure his neck did not move.”
He said the performer was in shock, but his heart was still beating. Wimberly’s brother, Mark Wimberly, an anesthesiologist who also attended the performance, stayed with Montoya until his breathing was stabilized.
While EMS workers were tending to him, Mayeaux said the crowd was told by the circus ringmaster that the man was responding and would be all right.
“The ringmaster said he was fine,” Warren said. “You put on a happy face; the show goes on.”
Summerville YMCA CEO Gary Lukridge said, “The Summerville Family is shocked and saddened by the accident that occurred on Sunday to Mr. Montoya. The YMCA offers its prayers to him, his family and the Walker Brothers Circus, and we are hopeful for his full recovery.
“The YMCA would also like to thank those “first responders,” including EMS personnel, who helped Mr. Montoya after his accident and (got) him the medical attention that he needed,” Lukridge said.
“Several of us rushed over and did what we could,” Wimberly said. “It’s just what you do, and it’s also what you would want done for you.”
Representatives with the circus did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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