"It’s a feeling I hope no parent will ever go through after this ride comes down," his mom said.
The mom of a 14-year-old boy who died on a theme park ride in Orlando last year paid her first visit to the location as workers began to disassemble the FreeFall ride. Tyre Sampson's mother, Nekia Dodd described it as a "bittersweet" moment as the ride comes down for once and for all, at a March 15 press conference. "It’s breathtaking and not in a good way," Dodd said, per TODAY. "My son took his last breath on this ride so it’s heartbreaking and devastating. It’s a feeling I hope no parent will ever go through after this ride comes down."
On March 24, 2022, Tyre sadly died after falling from the 430-foot FreeFall ride at Orlando's ICON Park. A report issued in April 2022 by an independent engineering company hired by the state claims that Tyre, 14, was "not properly secured" after the ride's operator reportedly changed sensors on a pair of seats, allowing Tyre to slip through a space between the harness and the seat. This week, construction workers began disassembling the ride, which will ultimately be taken down entirely.
Tyre Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd, said this afternoon she has settled her civil lawsuit with the Free Fall ride’s owner, Orlando SlingShot, and ICON Park.— Katie Rice (@katievrice) March 15, 2023
Standing in front of the ride, she said her “emotions were all over” about it coming down.
Story: https://t.co/pfpWt4rAF7 pic.twitter.com/mnoNWHAiVQ
Following the event, Tyre Sampson's parents, Nekia Dodd, and Yarnell Sampson sued the amusement park, the SlingShot Group, the ride's manufacturer Fun Time Thrill Rides, and Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, which made the seats and harnesses, for wrongful death, per PEOPLE. After almost a year-long struggle, the ride that took Dodd's son away from her is being taken down. "It’s a bittersweet moment," Dodd said. "You know the ride is coming down, I’m thankful for that, but my son’s not coming back."
During the press conference, Dodd's lawyer Michael Haggard disclosed that a settlement had been made with the ride's owner. "The case is not over. This death trap was made by Funtime, which resides out of Austria," Haggard said. "They have tried to evade responsibility and please remember it was the manufacturer that said you don’t need seat belts."
He added that talks with ICON Park about erecting a memorial for Tyre close to the attraction are still continuing. Dodd stated that she intended to establish a charity in her son's honor using the money from the settlement with ICON Park and Orlando Eagle Drop Slingshot. "Mainly, it will be to keep my son’s legacy alive, and give back to the community, to support our area and schooling and things of that nature," Dodd said.
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Nekia BigtickMama Dodd