Tire Sampson’s family is expected to file a lawsuit on Monday, family says

The family of a 14-year-old boy who died during the Orlando FreeFall race in March 2022 is expected to file a lawsuit in Florida on Monday, according to a family spokesperson.

The lawsuit is expected to be filed in Orange County court, according to a family spokesperson. No details of the ongoing lawsuit, including who he is against or potential damages, were immediately released.

CONTINUOUS COVERAGE: Orlando FreeFall death inquest

FOX 35 expects to receive a copy of the lawsuit on Monday. A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday morning, where Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd, is expected to speak with reporters in St. Louis, Missouri, about her son’s death.

Sampson’s father, Yarnell Sampson, told FOX 35 in March that his son was smart, did well in school and dreamed of playing NFL football. “That should never happen,” he said.

Sampson died March 24 after falling out of restraints while at Orlando FreeFall, a relatively new drop tower attraction – billed as the tallest drop tower in the world – at ICON Park in Orlando, in Florida. Video of the incident was widely shared on social media.

RELATED: ‘Are you sure you checked it out?’: Workers discuss boy falling from Orlando drop tower

Last week, Quest Engineering, a forensic company hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to investigate what happened, released its initial report and determined that the operator of the ride had made “manual adjustments” to the ride’s harness proximity sensor on two of the seats, including the one Sampson was in, which incorrectly showed that Sampson was strapped into his seat and that the ride was able to operate safely. security.

These changes have allowed the ride’s holdback opening to be more than double what it was supposed to be, commissioner Nikki Fried told a news conference last week.

Read Quest Engineering’s report below.

The average gap is supposed to be nearly three inches, according to the Quest Engineering report. The gap for Sampson’s seat was nearly seven inches, allowing him to slip between the restraint and the seat after the ride’s magnets engaged to slow him down, the report concluded.

It was also determined that the ride itself did not experience any mechanical or electrical failure, according to the report, although there were other contributing factors to Sampson’s death. He did not specify what those contributing factors were.

Sampson was visiting Orlando with another family from St. Louis, Missouri, his family said. He went with friends to ICON Park.

Orlando FreeFall is a vertical drop tower that takes riders about 400 feet in the air, tilts them forward briefly, then drops them several hundred feet to the ground before magnets slow it down.

It opened in December 2021 alongside the Orlando Slingshot, two new rides from The Slingshot Group, an amusement company that owns several attractions and rides in Central Florida, which opened at ICON Park .

Both rides have been closed since March 2022, pending multiple ongoing investigations.

Earnest L. Veasey