Safety Bar Failed in Wisconsin Dells Roller Coaster Accident

March 31, 2014

A police report cites a faulty safety bar on a roller coaster in an accident that left a rider with severe injuries in a fall at a Wisconsin Dells area indoor resort.

An attorney for the family of 63-year-old Anthony Theisen says he remains in a coma at University Hospital in Madison with numerous fractures and a brain injury.

Lake Delton police say Theisen fell nearly 17 feet from the roller coaster to the concrete floor at Mt. Olympus Theme Park on March 6. Theisen’s wife, Kay Theisen, was riding in the same coaster cart and told police her husband’s lap bar unlocked when they went around a corner, throwing him into the air.

Officer Troy Spencer wrote in his police report that he checked the four lap bars in Theisen’s cart several times and found three bars could not be pulled up. But, the fourth bar, where Thiesen was sitting, came unlocked.

“It appeared that the lap bar on Seat 1 locking mechanism was stripped. I checked the lap bars over three times to make sure Seat 1 was the only seat to come unlocked, which it was,” Spencer wrote.

Police interviewed several witnesses at Mt. Olympus, including a maintenance worker who told investigators the ride was working properly during test runs that day.

Theisen’s attorney, Todd Korb, said a safety test was done on the ride earlier this week. Sand bags to simulate Theisen’s weight were placed in the seat he was using, Korb said, and when the cart reached the point on the track where Theisen was ejected, the lap bar opened.

Mt. Olympus said in a statement released by general manager Adam Makowski that the company has fully cooperated with Lake Delton Police and the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

It’s the first time an accident of this type has occurred at the theme park, the statement said. The roller coaster will remain closed pending the results of an investigation.

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