Lawyer for family of teen killed in Orlando drop tower fall reacts to state investigation

State officials announced operators made manual adjustments to Orlando FreeFall

Attorney Michael Haggard said they’ve been speaking with witnesses and gathering more information, all as Sampson’s mom continues to mourn her son.

ORLANDO, Fla. – The family attorney for the mother of the teen killed after falling from an Orlando thrill ride said legal action is likely on the way.

This comes after state officials announced Monday the drop tower attraction would remain closed indefinitely as the investigation into 14-year-old Tyre Sampson’s death continues.

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Attorney Michael Haggard said they’ve been speaking with witnesses and gathering more information, all as Sampson’s mom continues to mourn her son.

“He was the sweetest kid that ever attended any class, and she wants this just never to happen to the next sweet kid,” Haggard said.

Haggard said Sampson’s mother is devastated after the release of the new investigative findings that shows the operator of the Orlando FreeFall ride made manual adjustments to the ride, resulting in it not being safe.

“Just makes it more real that someone really manipulated the ride which caused her son to die,” Haggard said.

He said Sampson’s mom is filing a lawsuit likely in the coming weeks that will address accountability, safety and what they call negligence in connection to the Orlando thrill ride.

“They decided to tilt it forward, they decided to have no other safety precautions but the harness, and then that night there’s no signs about weight, nobody checked his weight,” Haggard said.

ICON Park released the following statement in response to the investigation:

This comes after Florida Rep. Geraldine Thompson said she’s working on possible legislation in Tyre Sampson’s name that will focus mostly on training and safety for all rides.

She told News 6 she’s been in touch with the family attorney for Sampson’s father.

“They’re very concerned this occurred, and primarily wants to make sure this doesn’t happen to another child,” Thompson said.

Orlando SlingShot Attorney Trevor Arnold, who represents the SlingShot Group, also commented after state officials released the preliminary investigation report on the ride, saying:

News 6 will keep you posted on that possible legislation as well as any legal action that takes place.


About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.