Tedi and Derryl Brown were excited to take their five children to the Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It was supposed to be a fun vacation for the Florida family – it ended with a tragic accident. Now the Browns are suing Dollywood for $475-thousand.
Mrs. Brown was riding the Waltzing Swinger on this particular day. As the ride came to a stop, she lifted her safety bar and, according to the suit, quickly realized she had lifted it too soon. The weather was cold and there was rain mixed with sleet, so the safety bar was too slippery for her to grab on to.
She fell roughly ten feet from the swing to the ground. She landed on her head and wound up with a brain injury, spine and neck injuries and a broken jaw. The lawsuit says that the family had asked about the safety of the ride because of the weather that day.
We’ve all been on the swinging chairs at one time or another. Apparently, this ride was no different than the ones at most parks. The safety bar had no locking mechanism, you simply pull the bar down before riding, and you pull it up to get out when the ride is done.
The Browns allege that the park failed to warn the family not to raise the non-locking safety bar until the ride was safely on the ground. The family says they asked a Dollywood employee if the Waltzing Swinger was safe to ride during the wintery weather; they were told not to worry.
The information page on the Dollywood website says, “Dollywood’s Waltzing Swinger soars to new heights of adventure as you glide through the air, 25 feet above Country Fair.”
The site also says of the ride, “Waltzing Swinger is subject to closures during inclement weather conditions, including lightning.”
The Browns want to know why the ride was not closed on this wintery day. What do you think – should Dollywood be held responsible?