Friday, Jan. 7, 2000 | 10:51 a.m.
A 24-year-old Utah man plunged to his death Wednesday night after climbing over two fences and jumping from the top of the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower.
Mitchell M. Mayfield of Tooele, Utah, jumped from the tower's observation deck shortly after 11:15 p.m. and landed in shrubs in a valet parking area.
"It all happened very quickly," Tom Willer, Stratosphere's vice president of marketing, said. "Even if someone was only 5 feet away when he made his move you wouldn't have been able to stop him.
Mayfield had to climb over a railing about 4 feet high and drop about 10 feet to another deck that circles the main observation deck. From the approximately 8-foot wide deck Mitchell then had to climb about a 10-foot high fence, Willer said.
"As soon as he cleared the first barrier, he triggered an alarm," Willer said. "We always have at least one security guard on duty on the observation deck, but he (Mayfield) was very fast."
In addition to the alarm and the security guard, video cameras ring the observation deck so security can watch the entire area.
Willer said there have been three other people who managed to get over the fences, but those potential jumpers were talked down.
There also have been about five jumping incidents from the base of the Stratosphere as well, but Mitchell is the first person to be killed in a fall from the tower.
Willer said the hotel will review the latest incident but doubts security measures will be changed.
"Anytime we have someone go over the fences, we take a look to see if there is any more we can do to prevent it," Willer said. "But if someone has that kind of resolve, there is not much you can do."