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Lawsuits & Litigation

Theme Park Hit with Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Fatal Accident

— May 5, 2022

A family is suing ICON Park in Orange County, Florida, over the March death of a 14-year-old boy.

ICON Park in Orange County, Florida, was recently named in a lawsuit filed by the family of a 14-year-old boy who fell to his death from the park’s Free Fall ride. In addition to the park, the boy’s family is also suing the “ride’s operators and its manufacturer for negligence,” claiming “there were no seatbelts or warnings about height and weight restrictions.”

Gavel; photo by Sora Shimazaki from
Gavel; photo by Sora Shimazaki from

Nekia Dodd and Yarnell Sampson are the parents of Tyre Sampson, the boy who fell to his death from the ride. The suit was filed earlier this week in circuit court in Orange County, Florida, and is seeking a jury trial.

The tragic incident happened back on March 24 when Tyre visited the park during his spring break. Around 11 p.m., he “climbed into the Free Fall ride, which plummets to the ground from 430 feet at more than 75 miles per hour,” the suit notes. The suit further states, “the ride had an over-the-shoulder harness but no seatbelt.” It’s important to note that Tyre was 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed around 380 pounds. Before boarding the ride, he was allegedly “not advised about any weight or height restrictions by employees, and none were posted.” However, “his weight was significantly over the weight restriction listed in the ride’s manual,” according to Ben Crump, one of the lawyers representing the family.

Unfortunately, when the drop tower plummeted to the ground, Tyre was “ejected out of his seat and fell at least a hundred feet to his death.” To make matters worse, he was “not given adequate emergency medical attention after the fall.

The family alleges the “park failed to train employees to enforce safety measures and operate the ride in a way that avoided foreseeable injury and death.” On top of that, the lawsuit claims the park “failed to install a secondary restraint and that it did not have a way of confirming that restraints were secure.”

When commenting on the lawsuit, Bob Hilliard, another lawyer representing the family, said:

“This is a cascade of grossly negligent conduct by a full team of culpable and sophisticated defendants — all willing to sacrifice the simplest of safety measures to assure themselves the quickest and biggest payday possible.”

Trevor Arnold is one of the lawyers representing the ride’s owner, Orlando Slingshot. In response to the allegations, he said

“We reiterate that all protocols, procedures, and safety measures provided by the manufacturer of the ride were followed.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services launched an investigation into the ride that discovered that “adjustments had been made to the sensor of the seat in question to allow the harness restraint opening to be almost double that of the normal restraint opening range.” This adjustment “allowed the safety mechanism to operate even though Tyre was not secured in the seat.

The suit states:

“Tyre was a fourteen-year-old young boy who was an honor-roll student and football player…Despite his prowess on the football field, he was known as a kind-hearted person who cared about others. Tyre had a long and prosperous life in front of him that was cut short by this tragic event.”


Parents File Lawsuit Over Son’s Fatal Fall From Amusement Ride

Tyre Sampson’s Parents File Lawsuit After Teen Fell To His Death From Orlando Free Fall Ride

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