Nashville Mayor Says He’s Concerned About Safety In The City After Death Of College Student Riley Strain

Freddie O'Connell Nashville

Trying to keep it from happening again…

Unfortunately, today we got the tragic news that the two week search for missing University of Missouri student Riley Strain came to an end after his body was found in the Cumberland River, a few miles from where he went missing in downtown Nashville.

Strain was last seen by his friends after being asked to leave Luke’s 32 Bridge, which is the bar owned by Luke Bryan on Broadway in downtown Nashville.

After being asked to leave the bar, Strain’s friends called him, but he told them he would just walk back to their hotel. The group was staying at the Tempo Hotel, which is just off of Broadway on 8th Avenue, and just a few blocks from Luke’s bar.

But for some reason, it appears that Strain walked in the opposite direction of his hotel. The student was seen on several videos walking towards the river in downtown Nashville, and the last location that his phone pinged was near the James Robertson Parkway Bridge, near the Davidson County Courthouse at around 9:53 pm.

I know that everybody in Nashville has been following the search closely, and hoping that the 22-year old would be found safe, so it’s terrible for it to end this way.

But Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell says he wants to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Obviously Music City has become quite the party destination in recent years, with visitors packing the strip of bars on Broadway seven days a week looking for live music and a good time. But one of the things that comes with that are people who get overly intoxicated – and with Broadway’s location so close to the river, it’s unfortunately a recipe for disaster.

After Strain’s death was confirmed, O’Connell spoke about his concern for the safety of visitors to Music City:

“I would say we share the goal with the Convention and Visitors Corporation of constantly investing in the safety of the city, particularly the entertainment district because we want not just residents to be safe in their neighborhoods, whether or not they ever go to a honky tonk, but we also want visitors of the city to be safe.”

And O’Connell said he not only wants to make it harder to get to the river, but he wants to make it easier for visitors to find their way back after a night of partying:

“I’ve walked this stretch for decades, and I could certainly imagine there being barriers that made it harder to get from the sidewalk in to the areas of growth that are right there along the river bank.

I would say also just helping people with the basics of wayfinding. Through the years we have had different types of things that show where you are in downtown. I think making sure that it’s easy to find your way back to a hotel or to a residence. There are a couple different options.”

It’s clear that something needs to be done to prevent things like this from happening in the future. But it’s sad that it wasn’t done in time to protect Riley Strain.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock