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Ride operator pleads 'no contest' in 100-foot fall injuring girl

Last November in this space, we told you about a young girl who was fighting to regain her life as she knew it.

She had been injured in a 100-foot fall from an amusement park ride. At a news conference last fall, the 13-year-old sat in a wheelchair, crying as her mother told of the girl's courageous struggle to overcome her many serious injuries.

Now the man who was operating the ride called Terminal Velocity has pleaded no contest to a second-degree charge of reckless injury in court; authorities had charged him with responsibility for the fall.

He had reportedly failed to communicate clearly with a co-worker about the readiness of the ride's safety net.

So what's his punishment going to be? According to the report: no jail time. But he does have to pay $200 in court costs. No restitution was ordered because that is apparently being worked out in negotiations with the girl's family.

The girl is just 13 years old. When she was at the news conference last fall, months after the 10-story plunge, she still couldn't walk.

She was in the hospital for a month after the summer accident, having suffered fractures of the neck, spine and skull. She was on a respirator and later required spinal surgery.

According to all accounts, the fall was caused by operator error. Media reports indicate that the owners of Extreme World, where the fall took place, last year signed documents acknowledging that their employee was the cause of the fall.

Let's hope that compensation for the girl is sufficient for her medical needs and the pain and suffering she has had to endure at such a tender age.

We wish her the fullest recovery possible.

Resource: "Operator Pleads No Contest In Thrill Ride Injury": March 1, 2011

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