By Tim Krohn
---- — MANKATO — The parents of a college student critically injured after falling off the bumper of a bus issued a statement saying he did not climb on the bus as a stunt but because the bus was full and he could not get in it.
"Dylan made two attempts to board the “sober bus.” Unfortunately, the bus was full. His attempt to ride on the back of the bus was not a stunt — it was an effort to get home," said the statement from Paul and Troy Smyth, father and mother of 21-year-old Dylan Smyth.
Smyth received serious head injuries after falling from the bus near downtown Mankato at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. The bus carries students from the downtown bar area to housing at and near Minnesota State University. He remained in critical condition Thursday.
Cmdr. Jeremy Clifton of the Mankato Department of Public Safety said they can't confirm whether or not the bus was at capacity.
"However, attempts to ride on the outside of a vehicle just because a transit facility is at capacity is obviously not the way to conduct personal behavior," Clifton said. "It's clear there would have been alternatives besides driving home."
He said their message is for those going out to celebrate have a plan in place ahead of time for getting home safely.
In their statement, the parents said their son made "a number of good decisions" that night, including not driving home.
"We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support, positive thoughts and prayers we have received during this difficult time. Dylan is a very strong and resilient young man. He is an accomplished student, and we are very proud of our son," said the statement released through Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.
The statement also commended the city for operating the Late Night Express bus service as well as the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital.
The statement said no further information will be released other than Smyth's medical condition.
Smyth is listed as a student studying manufacturing, engineering and technology at MSU.
He was found at the intersection of Warren and Pleasant streets after witnesses reported to police a person was lying in the street. Witness statements and a review of surveillance camera footage showed him hanging onto the back of the Late Night Express bus and standing on the rear bumper as it left the downtown Cherry Street bus stop. The bus went several blocks before he fell off.