Six Flags Amusement Park Settles Kentucky Teenager’s Accident Case

November 25, 2008

An amusement park said it has reached a settlement with the family of a Louisville teenager whose feet were severed when a thrill ride malfunctioned last year.

Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom said the settlement would provide “lifetime care” for Kaitlyn Lasitter, who was 13 when a cable on the ride snapped in June 2007, cutting off her feet. Doctors were able to reattach her right foot but not her left one, and some of her left leg was amputated.

Kentucky Kingdom spokeswoman Carolyn McLean said terms of the settlement were confidential.

“We deeply regret the tragedy that Kaitlyn suffered and she remains in our thoughts and prayers,” the Louisville amusement park said in a statement.

Repeated calls to Kaitlyn’s father Randy and the family’s attorney were not immediately returned.

The family sued the amusement park, claiming the park failed to maintain the Superman Tower of Power ride and equipment and to ensure riders’ safety. The ride, which ascended several stories before dropping riders at speeds of more than 50 mph, has since been dismantled.

The amusement park denied liability in court filings. A trial had been set for early 2010.

A Kentucky Department of Agriculture report placed blame for the accident on a faulty cable and slow response by an operator. The report said Kaitlyn would likely have suffered only cuts and scrapes with swifter action from the ride’s operators.

Kaitlyn has undergone several surgeries since the accident. In late September, Randy Lasitter said his daughter was suffering “excruciating pain” as she faced more surgery in Nashville, Tenn.

In recounting the accident in a court document, Kaitlyn recalled a burning smell and said she felt she was going to die. Speaking in Washington on another occasion, Kaitlyn called her ordeal “horrific” and said “nobody should ever have to go through what I’ve been through.”

Kaitlyn, a former softball and soccer player, described putting on weight from inactivity, being made fun of, having friends and boys treat her differently and missing out on being a teenager.

The settlement was signed last Thursday (Nov. 20) by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Barry Willett.

Kentucky Kingdom had filed suit against Intamin Ltd., the manufacturer of the ride, but McLean said that claim had also been settled. A call to Intamin’s office in Maryland was not immediately returned.

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