Waterslide designer detained over decapitation of 10-year-old boy
- Author: Joey Payne Apr 04, 2018,
Apr 04, 2018, 0:58
The designer of the Kansas water slide on which a 10-year-old boy was decapitated has been arrested in the child's death, the latest to be charged in the tragic 2016 incident.
The second indictment follows a Kansas grand jury's indictment last week of the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kansas, and a former operations director on 20 felony charges. The boy was killed when his raft flew into the air and he struck an overhead loop. He was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of 41 years in prison.
It proceeds to allege that Henry and Schooley made a spur-of-the-moment decision to design the ride, neglected fundamental steps in the design process, and "rushed forward relying nearly entirely on crude trial-and-error methods".
"Henry, Schooley and Miles all knew about this problem before the ride opened to the public".
Schooley's attorney J. Justin Johnston told ABC News last week that his client was out of the country on a business trip and would to return to the United States to face the charges.
Tyler Austin Miles, 29, was charged with involuntary manslaughter.
From the ride's opening on July 10, 2014, to Caleb's death on August 7, 2016, 13 people were allegedly injured, investigators said. Miles has been released on $50,000 bond, according to one of his attorneys, Tricia Bath.
The company has promised to fight the charges. "The accusation that we withheld information or altered evidence is completely false".
After Henry's arrest in Texas, Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in an emailed statement: "We as a company and as a family will fight these allegations and have confidence that once the facts are presented it will be clear that what happened on the ride was an unforeseeable accident".
After the Guinness Book of World Records certified Verrückt as the world's tallest water slide, Henry tore down half of it to make corrections, delaying the planned opening and costing an additional $1 million, USA TODAY reported in 2016. The "rushed project and lack of expertise" resulted in the company skipping "fundamental steps in the design process".
Nevertheless, Schooley was responsible for doing "the math" that went into the slide's design. The indictment said that in 2014, when there were news reports emerging about airborne rafts, a company spokesperson "discredited" them and Henry and his designer began "secretly testing at night to avoid scrutiny". In one of those cases, a 15-year-old girl went temporarily blind.
"Verruckt suffered from a long list of unsafe design flaws; however, the most obvious and potentially lethal flaw was that Verruckt's design guaranteed that rafts would occasionally go airborne in a manner that could severely injure or kill the occupants", the indictment read.
Schwab was the son of Kansas state Rep. Scott Schwab, and died on a day when admission was free to the families of state legislators. The two women suffered face injuries and lacerations, according to investigators.