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Popular Ride Topples at Amusement Park, Parents of Injured Child Sue

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Bowling Green, KYIt’s been a rough summer for the Beech Bend Amusement Park located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Last month a ride known as the Dragon Coaster came to a sudden stop mid-ride, and while no one on the amusement park ride was hurt, it proved to be jarring in more ways than one: just a few weeks before, at the same amusement park, a popular ride toppled. Twelve patrons were injured, and an Amusement Park lawsuit has been launched related to the incident.

According to a published report in the Daily News (Bowling Green 7/28/15), plaintiffs Tonya Cooper and Matthew Crumpton had taken their child Taylor to the amusement park. It was Saturday, July 25. Cooper and her daughter were on the Jitterbug Swing ride when it collapsed in a horrific example of an amusement park accident.

According to comments attributed to Cooper’s amusement park accident attorney, Tonya Cooper noted “a loud cracking sound. She and another passenger yelled: ‘Stop the ride!’ But at the same time Tonya yelled this, she observed the employee of Beech Bend, who was in charge of the ride, several feet away from her post where the emergency stop button was located.

“Beech Bend was negligent and failed to adequately maintain its premises and the amusement park ride that caused Tonya and her daughter’s injuries,” a news release from attorney Brian Driver continued.
“Beech Bend was negligent in hiring, training and supervising its employees.”

According to the Daily News, 12 patrons who were on the ride when the horrific theme park accident happened were treated for their injuries at The Medical Center emergency room the evening of the accident, and reportedly released.

See Video: Amusement Park Accidents Preventable?

The news report noted that Beech Bend duly reported the incident to the proper authorities well within the required reporting window.

“It’s under investigation right now,” Chad Halsey, an administrative branch manager in amusement park rides within the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection, told the Daily News on July 27, referring to the ride incident.

“The law says anytime there is an incident they have to report to us within 12 hours,” Halsey said. “They notified us within the hour of it happening. We were there within an hour and half after it happening.”

All amusement park rides in Kentucky must be inspected once a year, Halsey said, in comments appearing in the Daily News.

In spite of the annual mandated inspection, there were two incidents at the same facility. The Daily News (8/16/15) also reports that when the Dragon Coaster came to an abrupt stop, management didn’t appear to think it was a big deal. “It just came to more of an abrupt stop than normal, but everything’s cool,” said park manager Charlotte Gonzalez, in comments appearing in the Daily News. “There was [sic] some people on it, no injuries, it wasn’t a big deal.

“Actually, they’ve got to do a little welding and we don’t do that until when the park’s closed for that,” Gonzalez said. “Anytime we have any kind of a situation where welding’s required on anything we do, the state does a normal routine inspection.”

Cooper and her daughter are pursuing their amusement park lawsuit nonetheless. The case is Tonya Cooper et al v. Beech Bend Park Inc., filed electronically July 28 in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Warren Circuit Court. No case number was available at press time.

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