ST. LOUIS – The mother of Tyre Sampson, the St. Louis teen who fell to his death at a Florida amusement park last month, will speak for the first time Tuesday morning.
Nekia Dodd is set to speak at 10:30 a.m. from the Live! By Loews hotel on Clark Avenue. Her comments come one day after attorneys for herself and Tyre’s father filed a 65-page wrongful death and product liability lawsuit in response to their son’s death.
The lawsuit alleges ride operators failed to safely operate the ride and warn Tyre of the proper height and weight safety restrictions. It also claimed the operators failed to properly train employees. Tyre was about 6 feet, 2 inches, and weighed about 380 pounds.
“Nobody weighed him. There were no signs, anything like that. So it was just a series of awful mistakes. At any point in time in that timeline, if someone would have been reasonable and done the right thing, this tragedy would have never occurred,” said attorney Michael Haggard.
Tyre attended City Garden Montessori School in St. Louis, was a lineman in the Badboyz Youth Football program, and had planned to play football this fall for East St. Louis High School.
The 14-year-old visited Icon Park in Orlando with another family over spring break when he fell off the free-fall drop tower ride. Last week, authorities said Tyre was improperly secured in his harness on the ride, leading to the deadly fall on March 24.
A report from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed that the ride operator made manual adjustments to the ride, resulting in it being unsafe.
“They designed one of the most dangerous rides in the world — 430 feet high, traveling 75 miles per hour. At the top, a rare design is to tip riders to a 30-degree angle and have them face the ground, then 75 miles to an abrupt stop. What they knew and they failed to tell anyone about is that the secondary restraint system should be in place.”
The lawsuit alleges that a $22 seatbelt would have saved their son’s life. The total cost of properly securing all seats on the ride would be around $600.
The attorney for the ride operator has said that they followed all safety measures provided by the manufacturer.