Lakeside Amusement Park sued for alleged injury on The Cyclone
Daniel Depaola, a Florida trucker, was driving through Colorado last July when he decided to stop at Lakeside Amusement Park, “just to have a little fun, you know.”
Depaola, 25, rode the roller coaster The Cyclone. And then he rode it again. And even. And even.
It was on this fourth trip that something went wrong, he said. Sitting near the back of the car and coming around a bend, he leaned more left than he should have and his raised left arm hit the white wooden track of the coaster, according to Depaola .
“At first I thought I sprained my wrist and lost a layer of skin on my elbow and wrist,” he said in an interview.
But at the end of the trip, Depaola was in “a lot of pain”, he recalls. A friend helped him get to an aid station to clean the wound. Then he left a report at the park and went to the hospital, where it was discovered he had a badly fractured left wrist requiring surgery, he said.
On April 1, Depaola sued Lakeside Amusement Park in Denver District Court, seeking undisclosed damages. His attorney, Robby Landis, said Depaola’s medical bills were over $100,000 and the park failed to meet its responsibilities, ignoring demands for negotiation.
“We are absolutely open to an amicable resolution out of court, but they have decided to go a separate route and, to be honest with you, don’t even give us the time of day or consider the consequences of their actions. “, alleged Landis in an interview.
A man who answered the phone at Lakeside Amusement Park on Friday said the park had no comment on the lawsuit. Brenda Fishman, the park’s operations manager, said in an email, “It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation.”
The lawsuit alleges that the seat belts on The Cyclone “did not work properly” and “did not properly attach (Depaola) to the seat.” The lawsuit notes that raising the arms as Depaola did “is the common and well-known custom and practice of roller coaster riders.”
The Cyclone, a wooden roller coaster, was built in 1940, according to old media reports. Lakeside was opened in 1908 and is a family business.
Amusement park rides are inspected annually in Colorado and these inspections are certified by the state’s Division of Petroleum and Public Safety. Inspection certificates obtained by BusinessDen show The Cyclone recently passed an inspection in June 2021, five weeks before the alleged incident, by a Kansas insurance company. The inspector did not respond to a request from BusinessDen for more details on what his inspection found.
Court records show Park has been sued two other times in the past decade for injuries.
In 2014, Lakeside was sued by Westminster man Gary Archuleta. He alleged that in June 2013 he was on the Flying Dutchman ride when his swing fell, collided with another swing and then skidded on the ground, causing back and neck injuries which he says , amounted to “permanent physical disfigurement, disability and impairment” and “loss of enjoyment of life”.
The amusement park questioned the extent of Archuleta’s injuries, saying he “continued to roam the park for up to two hours” before reporting a lower back injury to park staff and that ‘Archuleta didn’t go to the hospital until the following afternoon.
The case was settled out of court in October 2015 for an undisclosed amount of money.
In 2013, the amusement park was sued by Denver father and son James and Christopher Sisneros. According to the Sisneroses, they were riding The Spider one summer night in 2011 when a large piece of wood hit James, the father, in the head from above. He went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with a brain injury, as well as injuries to his back, neck and head. Her son suffered “severe emotional distress”, according to the lawsuit.
The amusement park questioned the extent of James Sisneros’ injuries, specifically the brain damage, and alleged in court documents that he was showing signs of exaggeration of his symptoms. The case was settled out of court in July 2014 for an undisclosed amount of money.
Landis declined to say how much money he thinks his client owes, but Depaola said he doesn’t wish Lakeside amusement park ill will.
“I’m not trying to shut down the park or anything. I just want them to make the right security tweaks so it can work better in the future and there won’t be more incidents like this.