Attorneys for the family of a young man who fell to his death at an in March are expected to file suit in civil court on Monday.
According to a release from the Haggard Law Firm, which represents Nekia Dodd, the mother of 14-year-old , attorneys plan to file a wrongful death civil suit in Orange County later today. A press conference is currently scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning in St. Louis, near where the family is from. Attorney Michael Haggard of the Haggard Law Firm will be presenting at the press conference, and ‘s mother, Nekia Dodd, will also be in attendance.
NEW: A lawsuit is expected to be filed in Orange County Monday on behalf of the family of Tyre Sampson.
The 14 year old from St. Louis died in late March after falling from Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park.
— Greg Angel (@NewsGuyGreg) April 24, 2022
Fourteen-year-old fell to his death on the evening of March 24 after visiting Orlando’s on . The teen was visiting Orlando during spring break when he and friends boarded the at .
According to reports, operators at the had turned away on at least two other attractions that evening, citing his size and related safety hazards. Sampson was a school athlete, and at only 14 years old, the teen stood more than 6 feet tall and weighed more than 320 pounds.
But he was permitted to the to a height of more than 400 feet above the ground before tilting forward and being released to give the feeling of a freefalling. But shortly after the ring began its drop, fell from hit seat to the ground below. the at , despite his size. The “ring” of seats moves up
Numerous 911 calls were placed, seeking emergency help for the teen as chaos ensued at . At least one caller told 911 dispatchers that operators hadn’t properly secured Sampson in his seat. Emergency personnel arrived and transported the teen to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
On the morning following the tragedy, investigators from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) arrived to begin looking into what led to Sampson’s Commissioner , as determined by Quest Engineering, a forensics company hired by the state agency to assist in the investigation. shared the first findings of the agency’s investigation. Only last week, during a press conference,
According to Quest Engineering’s findings, the operator made “manual adjustments” to two seats at the , rendering the unsafe for visitors.
According to FOX35 Orlando, Commissioner said that “manual adjustments have been made to the sensor with a seat in question that allowed the harness restraint opening to be almost double that of the normal restraint opening range.”
The forensics report also revealed that the changes had been made after the December inspection of the , which took place just before the opened at . Those changes allowed the sensor to show that the harness was in the safe and locked position with a 7-inch gap at the bottom of the harness, instead of the 3-inch gap created by the manufacturer.
“It’s really awful to see a parent go through this,” Dodd’s attorney Michael Haggard said.
Attorneys are expected to file multiple lawsuits. The last statement made by the family’s attorney centered around their intention to sue every entity involved in the terrible tragedy, except for the teen who operated the that day.
This is a developing story we are following, and as such, we will provide updates as they become available.