Family Sues Carnival Operators Over Rollercoaster Malfunction Incident

A family is seeking justice after a terrifying amusement ride incident left them with physical and emotional scars. On June 17, 2024, David Herstowski filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Greg’s Crescent City Amusement, LLC; Crandon Off-Road Entertainment, LLC; and Larson International, Inc.

The case revolves around an incident that occurred on July 2, 2023, at a carnival held at Crandon International Raceway in Forest County, Wisconsin. David Herstowski and his two sons, Alexander and Jacob, were riding an amusement ride known as the “Fireball” when it malfunctioned. According to the complaint, the ride ceased functioning while they were inverted and suspended high above the ground for several hours. The plaintiffs allege that this harrowing experience resulted in bodily injuries and severe emotional distress.

David Herstowski claims that Greg’s Crescent City Amusement (GCC-Amusements) was responsible for organizing and managing the carnival, including the Fireball ride. The lawsuit accuses GCC-Amusements of negligence for failing to properly inspect and maintain the ride. Specific allegations include not addressing issues such as loose transformers for LED lights and ensuring that riders could be safely disembarked if a malfunction occurred. The plaintiffs argue that these failures violated multiple safety regulations outlined in Illinois Administrative Code sections 6000.110, 6000.70, and 6000.30.

Similarly, Crandon Off-Road Entertainment is accused of negligence under similar grounds as GCC-Amusements. They are alleged to have failed in their duty to ensure the safety of carnival-goers by not adequately inspecting or maintaining the Fireball ride. Both entities are charged with premises liability for not keeping the carnival grounds safe for visitors.

Larson International faces accusations of strict liability and negligence as they designed, manufactured, assembled, supplied, distributed, and sold the Fireball ride. The complaint asserts that Larson International should have ensured that their product was free from defects and reasonably safe for public use. Allegations against Larson include faulty electrical systems and failure to provide adequate warnings about potential hazards associated with using the Fireball.

The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages exceeding $75,000 from each defendant along with recoverable litigation costs. They claim economic damages due to medical expenses incurred from treating injuries sustained during the incident as well as non-economic damages for emotional distress.

This article was first published in Cook County Record.

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