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Link: Charges filed against railing-slilding fan who fell at Ralph

By Mark Gaughan

In case you missed it - and because we realize not all sports fanatics scour the inside pages of the local section - here is the story in today's Buffalo News on the 28-year-old fan who fell out of the upper deck at Ralph Wilson Stadium ... and who lost his job as an art director at a major public-relations firm ... and who now faces criminal charges.


Criminal charges have been filed against the football fan who fell from the top deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium into the stands below during Sunday’s Buffalo Bills game.

The Erie County Sheriff’s Office announced charges Wednesday evening against a man the office identified as Robert A. Hopkins, 28, of Cobb Alley, Lackawanna.

The announcement said Hopkins was arrested “for his actions involving sliding down a handrail in the 300 level of Ralph Wilson Stadium.”

Sheriff Timothy B. Howard’s office said Hopkins “was charged with assault in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor, and reckless endangerment in the second degree, also a class A misdemeanor.”

The Sheriff’s Office said in a prepared statement that Hopkins “is set to be arraigned on the charges on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, at 4 in Orchard Park Town Court.”

The statement added, “There will be no further comment from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office on this case at this time.”

One source close to the investigation said, however, “We don’t think it was intentional. It was reckless what he did.”

The Bills on Monday banned Hopkins from Ralph Wilson Stadium as a result of the incident. Hopkins also lost his job in advertising and public relations with Eric Mower + Associates.

Hopkins could be seen sliding in a seated position down a railing in the 300 level during the game against the New York Jets and then toppling backward and falling 20 to 25 feet into the 200 section. Authorities said he landed on another fan.

The Sheriff’s Office said Hopkins “landed on and injured a 29 year old fan in the 200 level of the stadium.”

Both men were taken to a hospital and later released.

The man who fell hurt his shoulder, while officials said the man he struck suffered a head and/or neck injury.

The incident apparently was recorded by network television cameras. Video posted on several websites shows the indistinct figure of a man sliding on the railing, then tipping over the side.

Officials said the Bills have clearer video of the incident.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |