Amusement park fined $250,000 in death of Missouri teen

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando amusement park operator from which a Missouri teenager fell to his death should pay a $250,000 fine and never be allowed to drive again in Florida, state officials said Tuesday.

Tire Sampson, 14, fell to his death in March from the 400-foot drop tower ride operated by Orlando Slingshot.

“What we can do is make sure our laws don’t allow this to happen to others,” says Nikki Fried, state commissioner for agriculture and consumer protection.

An autopsy revealed that Tyre, a St. Louis-area football player and Honor Roll student, suffered numerous fractures and internal injuries in the fall, and his death from blunt force trauma was ruled accidental. It showed that tires weighed 383 pounds (173 kilograms),far above the weight limit of the driver’s manualof 287 pounds (130 kilograms).

Traveling Orlando’s tourist-friendly International Drive,will be dismantled.

Requirements will be introduced to ensure Florida rides remain safe going forward, and the department’s investigations will be turned over to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office to review criminal charges, she said.

“The death of a little boy will not be in vain,” Fried said.

A company spokesman said two employees were suspended after Tire’s death and that outside firms were brought in to improve safety, training and maintenance issues.

“We have taken these steps to ensure continued operations are in accordance with applicable standards and recommendations,” said Trevor Arnold, attorney for Orlando Slingshot.

Found a report from outside engineersSensors on the ride were set manuallyto double the size of the seat belt opening on two seats resulting in the teenager not being properly secured.

Tire’s family sues owners, manufacturers and landlords of the ride, negligence and failure to provide a safe ride.

By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Amusement park fined $250,000 in death of Missouri teen

Sarah Y. Kim

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