Florida lawmakers will pass legislation honoring a teenager who died after falling off a theme park ride earlier this year. Hundreds gathered at the site of his death on his birthday to celebrate his life and learn about legislation aimed at improving the safety of entertainment rides at venues across the state.
On Wednesday, August 17, State Rep. Geraldine Thompson announced that she would introduce the “Tyre Sampson Law,” a play that bears the name of the eighth-grade boy who passed away on March 24, at the next legislature Orlando FreeFall ride crashed session. The news was delivered on his 15th birthday, reports FOX 35 News.
Alongside Thompson were Tire’s father, other relatives, and civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.
Sampson lost his life while traveling with friends from St. Louis, Missouri to Orlando, Florida during his spring break. The parents of the young man, who an investigation found was too big to have the experience and slipped because his seat belt had been tampered with, want the ride to be demolished.
ICON Park has indefinitely closed the FreeFall ride, an amusement feature billed as the “world’s tallest free-standing drop tower.”
Thompson told those gathered that her proposal introduces preventative measures to prevent park operators from changing rides, changes that could cost others their lives.
“What happened here was extraordinary,” said the member of parliament. “Seat adjustment after acceptance after approval – that was unusual.”
She continued, “It was unusual that the young people running the ride weren’t properly trained, that was unusual. It was unusual that the height and weight tags weren’t appropriate for Tire to make their own decision – that was unusual.”
Noting how young he was, Thompson said, “In normal life, you don’t expect parents to have to bury their children. He was on the verge of manhood.”
The family gathered at the scene of his death with balloons and broken hearts to celebrate the day of his birth.
“It’s hard to explain something like that, it’s unnatural,” said Yarnell Sampson, the teen’s father, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “I didn’t want to come here and try to be a public figure, trying to get publicity behind this, but since I’m here, I’ll let the message be heard: Justice for Tyre.”
“I try to give the dead the proper respect. He deserved this for not agreeing to die. He signed up to ride and have fun and it led to something else,” he continued.
The emotionally overcome and occasionally collapsing father also shared how devastating Tire’s death was for him: “That was my only child. That was my everything.
“He was a star to me when he was born,” Sampson said. “He will always be a star.”
The family filed a lawsuit alleging Tire’s wrongful death. Crump urged the public “the courts and everyone involved” to expedite the process against the park and those associated with the construction, management and operation of the ride.
“This [the complaint] is of great public importance,” the attorney said. “Safety first.”
The bill has met little opposition from The Slingshot Group, the company that owns the ride that Sampson fell off. Trevor Arnold, a legal representative, also supported the proposed legislation, saying, “Tyre’s Death is a tragic accident that we take very seriously. ”
He added, “We continue to cooperate with any requests, and we hope that the name and memory of Tire can live on through the proposed ‘Tyre Sampson Bill,’ which we support,” Arnold said.
If passed in both state legislatures and signed by the governor, the law will become law on July 1, 2023.
https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/08/19/tyre-sampson-law-bill-announced-on-the-15th-birthday-of-the-deceased-teen/ “Tyre Sampson Law” Bill announced on the late teenager’s 15th birthday that he would take action against amusement park safety