Samson tires Parents, Nekiah Dodd, And Yarnell Samson, have settled part of their wrongful death lawsuit for an undisclosed amount. Tire died last year after falling from a 430-foot ride on March 24.
The 14-year-old visited the park in Florida for spring break with another family from his hometown in Missouri. Unfortunately, Tire slipped out of the ride’s restraints as it neared the ground. At the time of the incident, the drop tower had been open for less than four months, per fox 35. It is now permanently closed and expected to be completely gone before the first anniversary of Tire’s death.
THIS IS TIRE SAMPSON.
He is the 14-year-old who died after falling from the Orlando Free Fall. #FOX35 News speaks exclusively to his father at 5:00 and 6:00. #Orlando #Dropride pic.twitter.com/w1gdjnh9sG
— LuAnne Sorrell FOX 35 (@FOX35LuAnne) March 25, 2022
RELATED: Icon Park announces permanent closure of FreeFall ride after Tire Sampson’s fatal fall
About a month after their child’s death, Tire’s parents filed the lawsuit against ICON Park, owner of the ride Slingshot Group, its manufacturer Fun Time Thrill Rides, and manufacturer of the ride’s seats and harnesses, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides.
your lawyer, Michael Hagard, told reporters this week that the parents have come to terms with Icon Park and the Slingshot Group. However, they still follow Fun Times and Gerstlauer.
“This deathtrap was manufactured by Fun Times, which resides outside of Austria, which is not subject to the jurisdiction of the CPSC, it is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States except in this court proceeding. They’re coming out now, they tried to evade duty,” Haggard said. “They have tried to evade responsibility and please remember the manufacturer said that on a ride that goes 420 feet in the air you lean forward 90 degrees and at 75 miles per hour comes down, don’t need seat belts. You don’t need to buckle up, says the foreign manufacturer. Gerstlauer, who made the seat, was also manipulated.”
Haggard attributed her to Nekia “bold promise to her son Tire that his legacy will live forever, and she has kept that through this last tumultuous, horrific year.”
Tire Sampson’s mother visits ICON Park to see the tower ride demolition
Michael Haggard provided the lawsuit update at a press conference Wednesday at ICON Park. Tyre’s mother, Nekia, first visited the site where her son died to witness the demolition of the ride begin. According to Haggard, removing the ride was her top priority.
“My son breathed his last on that ride so it’s heartbreaking, it’s devastating, it’s a feeling I hope no other parent ever has to go through on that ride after that ride comes down.” When he died, I wasn’t there for him,” Dodd said during a press conference at the park.
Tire Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd, said this afternoon she has settled her civil suit with Free Fall ride owner Orlando SlingShot and ICON Park.
As she faced the ride, she said her “feelings were over” because she was coming down.
Story: https://t.co/pfpWt4rAF7 pic.twitter.com/mnoNWHAiVQ
– Katie Reis (@katievrice) March 15, 2023
Meanwhile, this week the Florida Senate and Agriculture Committee debated a bill honoring Tire Sampson’s memory. State Senator Geraldine Thompson submitted it Tire-Sampson Actinitially aimed at increased driving tests, regulations and training.
But Tire’s mother, Nekia, was also pushing for better ride safety practices. During Wednesday’s press conference, her attorney said it was the second thing the mother wanted for Tire’s legacy. Nekia looked for redundant safety features for rides higher than 150 feet in the air, including a seat belt and harness.
A recent investigation by the state of Florida found that Tire’s seat was manually adjusted to his height, which was reported to be over 300 pounds. Still, Haggard said additional safety features could have saved Tire.
“We all know if that ride had had a seat belt, this would never have happened. No matter that the seats were deliberately manipulated. Regardless of whether the sensors were tampered with, a seat belt would have saved Tire’s life. That’s what Nekia wanted in this bill. Sentor Thompson put that in and it was passed unanimously,” Haggard said.
ICON Park said in a statement about the demolition:
“Although the FreeFall ride is not owned, controlled or operated by ICON Park, we concur with the owner’s decision to dismantle the ride and our hearts go out to the family as they witness this important milestone.”
Senator Thompson said Fox35 She plans to offer an amendment to the bill that reflects Dodd’s proposals. In addition, the bill will allow the state to conduct unannounced ride inspections, sign them off before they open, allow for a review of employee training, and close unsafe rides.
Still, until the Florida governor enacts the law, Haggard says “Our children are all at risk.”