Man Killed by Chair Thrown at Hollywood Casino St Louis Dave Matthews Band Concert, Widow Sues

Posted on: October 3, 2020, 12:22h. 

Last updated on: October 3, 2020, 09:49h.

A father from Jefferson City, Missouri died after being hit by a chair tossed by staff at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in St Louis in the aftermath of a concert by the Dave Matthews Band, according to a lawsuit.

Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
The Dave Matthews Band concert at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in May 2019, which preceded the tragic death of Jasen Smith. (Image: Hollywood Casino Amphitheater)

Jasen Smith, 44, attended the event with his wife, Darcy Smith, and friends on May 15, 2019 at the casino venue in the Maryland Heights area of the city. After the concert, the couple and their friends left the venue, at which point Darcy Smith realized she had left behind her souvenir T-shirt commemorating the performance by Virginia’s foremost folk-rock, jazz-fusion jam band.

Jasen Smith went back to retrieve it, just as employees were collapsing hundreds of chairs that had been set up on the lawn, explains the wrongful death lawsuit, filed last month on behalf of Darcy Smith.

Smith was walking through a pedestrian walkway when he was hit by one of the chairs, which caused him to stumble backwards and hit his head on concrete, it continues.

Blunt Force

The suit claims Hollywood Casino Amphitheater staff were slow to come to Smith’s aid because they assumed he was drunk.

Concerned about her husband’s whereabouts, Darcy Smith rang his cellphone, which was eventually answered by a paramedic, who informed her he was unconscious and bleeding from his ear.

Smith died the next day in a local hospital of a brain injury. Doctors determined he suffered a blunt force injury to the back of his head that fractured his skill.

The Hollywood Casino St Louis is a Penn National Gaming property, but the amphitheater is owned by Live Nation, a global concert promotion and ticketing company and venue owner.

Thus, the lawsuit accuses Live Nation — not Penn National — of negligence resulting in wrongful death.

‘Hold Responsible to Account’

“You can’t fathom going to a Dave Matthews Band concert on a Wednesday evening and being struck by something which cost you your life,” said Chip Gentry, the family’s attorney, to The St Louis Dispatch. “We will certainly dig deep to hold those responsible accountable.”

“He was a great businessman and father to his twin boys,” Gentry added. “He ran a really neat car lot in town that specialized in custom trucks. There were 1,000 people at his memorial service. He had a good reputation and a lot of friends. He coached his kids’ teams.”

This week, lawyers for Live Nation sought to have the case transferred from the St. Charles County Circuit Court to a federal court in St. Louis.