The parents of Tyre Sampson have reached a settlement with the ICON Park and Slingshot Group over the wrongful death of their 14-year-old son. Tyre tragically fell from a 430-foot amusement ride last March while on Spring Break in Florida. The ride had only been open for less than four months before the incident. The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed.
Tyre’s parents filed a wrongful death claim against ICON Park, Slingshot Group, Fun Time Thrill Rides, and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides a month after their child’s death. While ICON Park and Slingshot Group have settled with the family, Fun Time and Gerstlauer are still targets of the lawsuit.
THIS IS TYRE SAMPSON.
He is the 14-year-old who died after falling off of the “Orlando Free Fall” drop ride. #FOX35 News talks exclusively with his father at 5:00 and 6:00. #Orlando #Dropride pic.twitter.com/w1gdjnh9sG
— LuAnne Sorrell FOX 35 (@FOX35LuAnne) March 25, 2022
As the demolition of the ride began, Tyre’s mother, Nekia, attended the site of her son’s death for the first time. Her attorney, Michael Haggard, stated that she prioritized removing the ride, which is now permanently closed and anticipated to disappear before the anniversary of Tyre’s death.
The Florida Senate and Agricultural Committee discussed the Tyre Sampson memorial measure this week. Senator Geraldine Thompson introduced the Tyre Sampson Act to increase ride inspections, rules, and training. Nekia Sampson also spoke at the press conference and advocated for greater amusement ride safety. She urged for seatbelts and harnesses for rides over 150 feet.
Tyre Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd, said this afternoon she has settled her civil lawsuit with the Free Fall ride’s owner, Orlando SlingShot, and ICON Park.
Standing in front of the ride, she said her “emotions were all over” about it coming down.
Story: https://t.co/pfpWt4rAF7 pic.twitter.com/mnoNWHAiVQ
— Katie Rice (@katievrice) March 15, 2023
The investigation into the incident found that Tyre’s seat was physically altered to fit his 300-pound frame. Haggard claims that more safety features could have saved Tyre. The bill introduced by Senator Thompson would allow the state to inspect rides unannounced, sign them off before opening, evaluate personnel training, and close unsafe rides.
Haggard stressed the importance of the bill, stating that “our children are all at risk” unless it is passed by the governor. Senator Thompson has pledged to include Nekia Sampson’s comments in the bill.
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The tragic death of Tyre Sampson has brought about important discussions regarding amusement ride safety and the need for greater regulations and inspections. The settlement reached by the family with ICON Park and Slingshot Group, as well as the potential passing of the Tyre Sampson Act, show the importance of holding companies accountable for their role in ensuring the safety of their customers.