Landowner seeks eviction of Daytona Beach roller coaster that derailed

'Sand Blaster' shuttered since 6 passengers in June incident

By Mike DeForest - Investigative Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Nearly one year after a beachside roller coaster derailed and injured six passengers, the owner of the property where the defunct amusement ride sits is attempting to evict the coaster's owner and remove the rusting structure.

Boardwalk at Daytona Development LLC, which owns the oceanfront property near the Daytona Beach pier, has filed a complaint in Volusia County Circuit Court against the roller coaster's owner, Boardwalk Amusement Rides LLC.

According to the complaint, the landlord notified the roller coaster owner in early 2018 that its right to occupy the premises under a lease would end in March 2018.

"(Boardwalk Amusement Rides) ignored the notice," according to the lawsuit.

Months later, on June 14, the Sand Blaster roller coaster derailed, injuring six passengers.

The state agency that oversees amusement rides, Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or FDACS, immediately ordered the ride to be shut down as it launched an investigation into the derailment.

In July 2018, the landlord issued another letter to the roller coaster's owner demanding that the amusement ride be removed and the property restored to its prelease condition by September 2018, according to the complaint.

The landlord claims it later sent yet another letter to the coaster's owner setting a February 2019 deadline for the ride's removal.

"To date, (Boardwalk Amusement Rides) has not removed the roller coaster," the complaint states.

The amusement ride company has not yet responded to the landlord's lawsuit, court records show.

Neither of the roller coaster's owners, Edward Kennedy and Stylianos Manousos, nor their attorney, responded to multiple emails from News 6 seeking comment for this story.

Last year, FDACS issued a preliminary investigative summary stating that the roller coaster derailment was caused by excessive speed.

Engineers also found evidence that the roller coaster had likely derailed several times in the past without being reported to the state, according to the investigative summary.

A spokesperson for FDACS did not immediately respond to questions from News 6 about the status of the state's investigation into the roller coaster derailment.

A News 6 investigation previously revealed that many safety inspection reports that were supposed to be filled out by the roller coaster operator appeared to be missing, while other inspection records were incomplete or were written on forms created for go-karts.

At least one of the victims injured on the roller coaster is still receiving active medical treatment, according to Nick Panagakis, an attorney with the Morgan and Morgan law firm.

"The victims are still evaluating their legal options," Panagakis said.

The lawsuit does not specify what the property owner plans to do with the beachside plot once the roller coaster is removed.

George Anderson, the manager of Boardwalk at Daytona Development, did not respond to multiple phone calls from News 6.

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