The parents of the 14-year-old boy who died after falling to his death at a Florida amusement park have finally reached a settlement.
Tyre Sampson of Missouri plummeted to his death last March after reportedly falling off an amusement park ride, with an accident report writing that Sampson came out of his seat while boarding ICON Park’s FreFall Ride in Orlando, Florida. The report noted that Sampson’s “harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped.”
Nekia Dodd, Sampson’s mother, visited the park for the first time this week as demolition work began on the ride.
“My son took his last breath on this ride, so it’s heartbreaking, it’s devastating, it’s a feeling I hope no other parent will ever have to go through after this ride comes down,” Dodd said at a press conference streamed by Fox 35. “When he passed, I wasn’t there for him.”
Dodd and Yarnell Sampson, Tyre’s father, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the park and the SlingShot Group which owns the ride in question. The seat manufacturers Fun Time Thrill Rides and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides were also named in the suit.
“Personally it felt like the first day I found out, when I seen the video [went] viral, and I found out. I feel like it’s a cover-up sham going on,” Yarnell said at a press conference last year. “I feel like. personally, that they don’t want the world to know the truth because, I hate to say this, I don’t wanna use the race thing, but I believe that because my son is a Black young man that he’s getting treated like this and I believe if it was a European child, it would’ve been something different.”
ICON Park said in a recent statement to Fox 35: “While the FreeFall ride is not owned and was not controlled or operated by ICON Park, because it is a tenant on the property, we agree with the owner’s decision to dismantle the ride, and our hearts are with the family as they witness this important milestone.”
SlingShot’s owner Ritchie Armstrong announced last October they’d be demolishing the ride in the wake of Tyre’s death.
“We are devastated by Tyre’s death,” Armstrong told People at the time. “We have listened to the wishes of Tyre’s family and the community and have made the decision to take down the FreeFall.”