I love going to amusement parks. It is rare a summer will go by where I don’t visit at least Cedar Point or Kings Island. I love the thrill of packing for a weekend getaway or even just a day trip to ride roller coasters all day long. I even look forward to waiting in line and people watching as the day goes by. In my book, nothing beats a day at an amusement park. Of course, the same can’t be said for everyone that seeks a thrill. Especially Teagan Marti.
Teagan is only twelve years old. And this summer all she wanted to do was go to Wisconsin to take a ride on Terminal Velocity. The attraction is at Extreme World Amusement Park located in Wisconsin Dells and was recently featured on a television show. This is where the young girl got the idea for a trip out west.
While they were waiting in line for this ride, Teagan’s mother noticed the man operating the machine. He was the same man that appeared on the television show. The concept of this ride, as explained by the operator on television, is to take people up over 100 feet and then drop them straight down, with no cord or bungee attached. It truly is a free fall.
It was time for Teagan to take her turn on the ride and her mother grabbed the video camera to catch all of this on tape. Just then, Teagan was dropped from over 100 feet in the air and fell to the ground with nothing to catch her. The net was not in place and the ground was the only thing left to break her fall.
When Teagan’s mother arrived by her side, she noticed her daughter bleeding from the nose, mouth, and ears. Imagine hitting the ground that hard from that high up. I can’t believe she wasn’t killed instantly, to be honest. Her mother reached for her daughter and noticed that her eyes had rolled back in her head and that her mouth was turning purple. When the mother reached for a pulse, she found nothing.
Teagan is still alive, but just barely. As of this past weekend she was in stable condition at the American Family Children’s Hospital. Doctors say that she has suffered from swelling in her brain, as well as multiple fractures in her spine and pelvis. She has also suffered from lacerations to her liver, spleen, and intestines. Chances are she will end up paralyzed from this accident.
The ride operator is only thirty-three years old and goes by the name Charles Carnell. He comes from Lake Delton, Wisconsin, and has been charged with first degree reckless injury, a felony that is punishable by up to twenty-five years in prison and as much as $100,000 in fines. The operator admits to having, “blanked out” and never saw the all-clear sign before releasing Teagan.
On top of that, the family’s lawyer has said a criminal lawsuit is also planned on being filed against Charles. However they want to make sure that Teagan is better before proceeding with any legal action.
A story like this makes me cautious to visit any more amusement parks this year. Granted, I have never experienced anything like this before, but this is a big deal for not only the amusement park itself, but for Mr. Carnell’s life. His mistake could not only land him in prison for the next twenty-five years, but it could also have taken an innocent girl’s life just the same. Regardless of warning signs, you can never be too careful. All I can hope is that this girl can recover just fine and find it in her to ride once again. But when asked if she remembers what happened, all she can recall was there being an accident of sorts and that she didn’t think the net caught her the way it was supposed to.
If you are a thrill seeker, perhaps you should skip Terminal Velocity this year and focus more on the bumper cars or the merry-go-round.