Logan, UT – A 62-year-old man died of head trauma after being tackled by a 17-year-old boy over an alleged sexual assault.
Michael Fife, 62, was riding a Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) bus at approximately 3 p.m. on April 23, when he walked past a 16-year-old female passenger, the Logan Police Department (LPD) said in a press release on Tuesday.
The juvenile female immediately called her 17-year-old brother, and told him that Fife had sexually assaulted her.
A few minutes later, Fife exited the bus near the intersection of 100 West and 300 South, where he was confronted by the girl’s brother.
The teen then ran at Fife and slammed into him, knocking the elderly man onto the ground, and causing him to hit his head on the sidewalk.
Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen described the hit as a “linebacker-type charge,” KSTU reported.
“Mr. Fife was left unconscious, lying on the sidewalk, while his assailant fled the scene on foot,” the LPD’s press release said.
Bystanders called police and paramedics, who rushed Fife to the Logan Hospital.
The 16-year-old girl reported the alleged sexual assault to police at approximately 6:16 p.m., but when investigators reviewed surveillance footage from the bus, her story didn’t add up.
“The video showed Mr. Fife walking past the girl, but no sexual assault occurred,” the LPD said.
Fife was ultimately transferred to McKay-Dee Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on April 27.
“This is an absolutely horrible event,” Chief Jensen told KSTU. “We have a justice system. We don’t do vigilante justice.”
“We certainly appreciate it if we could do our job,” he added.
The LPD declined to release the identities of the juveniles, due to their ages.
Fife’s son, Michael Fife Jr., said that his father was a kind man who cared about others.
“I don’t even know why he was being hit,” Michael told KTSU. “Something definitely needs to be done because this stuff can’t happen. I mean, especially over an allegation.”
A fundraising page established to help pay for Fife’s medical and funeral expenses has raised over $1,400.