SPOKANE, Wash. - The City of Spokane apologized Monday for the confusion that followed a fatal accident at the Riverfront Park Ice Ribbon on Friday.
The City of Spokane initially reported the injured skater had passed away from her injuries, but then later issued a correction and said the skater was in critical condition on Sunday. Monday, officials said they were no longer going to speak on her condition.
Monday afternoon, a memorial fund for Lorae Sims and her family confirmed she passed away and donated her organs. Sims' family confirmed to KREM2 she was the woman injured in the Friday ice ribbon incident.
""It's a horrible tragic accident that we would have never guessed. She fell and hit her head on the ice at about 3:30 p.m. and was unconscious immediately. They got her to the hospital and they never got her to respond," Sims' brother, Arley Roemer said. "They did a CT scan and found that parts of her brain had started to die and so they put her on life support in the ICU room and tried to keep her going to see if there was any improvement by Saturday morning and there wasn't."
Roemer said her organs were donated and she passed after the surgery on Sunday.
Brian Coddington from the City of Spokane said they had made multiple statements over the weekend because they had gotten reports of the skater's death through "unofficial channels."
"That occurred because we had reports on Saturday from a number of different sources we failed to take the extra step to confirm those reports," he said. "They appeared to be credible on their face, in hindsight they were inaccurate and caused some confusion."
Coddington said EMS had been called right away, and in surveillance video, the skater appeared to have fallen when she was on a flat, straight part of the ice ribbon and not near anyone else.
Coddington said after their first two press releases, city officials chose not to speak any further on the condition of the skater.
“We felt like it was not our place then to comment on the condition of the skater at that point in time, that was up to the hospital and the family,” he said.
Coddington said city officials are reviewing the incident and plan to change some of their protocol.
“One of the immediate learnings is to remember to communicate and confirm these things through official channels,” he said. “In this case, [with the] hospital, but you could have a case where a situation arises with inaccurate or conflicting information in other scenarios as well.”
The ice ribbon will remain open during the investigation, and helmets were made available starting Sunday for skaters.
Lorae Sims' memorial fund will help cover medical and funeral expenses, according to a post.
Sims' nephew, Barry Roemer, said his aunt had been an great person.
"She was laughing at everything, always had something to say," he said. "She was super nice. I mean that smile, I'm sure everyone has seen a picture of what her face looked like all the time."
"She was a really good person and it happened to probably the most favorite person in the family," he said.
This story has been updated to reflect that Lorae Sims had passed away, according to her memorial fund.
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