The father of a teenager who died from an amusement park ride calls for the attraction to be demolished

People visit a makeshift memorial for Tire Sampson outside the Orlando Free Fall ride at the ICON Park entertainment complex, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. Sampson, a teenager visiting from Missouri during spring break, died while on the ride.

Tire Sampson’s father, Yarnell and civil rights attorney Ben Crump have called for the dismantling of the ride that brought Tyr down to his death, according to ABC News. Their press conference follows the release of the autopsy report detailing Sampson’s cause of death. Yarnell said he fears his son’s death will be forgotten if the ride is still in operation.

Reports say Tyre, 14, visited ICON Park in Orlando while on spring break this year. He was 100 pounds overweight for the FreeFall ride, however, an investigation found that a ride operator manually adjusted his seat before boarding. The tire fell from the 430ft ride and videos of the incident went viral on social media.

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According to the ABC report, Yarnell’s birthday fell on Father’s Day. He said it was the first time he could celebrate with his son.

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“The goal is to get 25,000 petitions signed to have this ride removed,” said Yarnell Sampson – Tire Sampson’s father – who spoke alongside his lawyer, Ben Crump. “What I wish is that I would like to have a permanent memorial here for my son that he has passed away and that his legacy will live on and give proper respect to the dead who need it.”

Crump and Yarnell Sampson were also joined by state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, who plans to introduce the “Tire Sampson Bill” in the Florida Legislature.

“We are still working on the bill that will be introduced on the very first day of the next legislative session,” Thompson said. “This bill that will be introduced will take into account the safety records of any company wishing to operate an amusement ride of this nature.”

According to CNN, Tyre’s autopsy found his cause of death to be blunt force trauma which resulted in multiple fractures, lacerations, bleeding to his head and other extremities. Sampson said Monday that her son’s face was swollen and almost unrecognizable at his funeral.

The lawsuit filed against the owner, manufacturer and owner of the ride alleges that the ride was negligently operated, according to ABC News. As the investigation continues, the ride has been closed to park visitors.

“I guarantee you that if you reopen this ride, someone else is going to die. It should never be operational at all,” Sampson said.

Harold B. McConnell