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Ferris Wheel Victim Will Take Issue to Court

August 4, 2005  ·  By HM&M



After falling about 20 feet from a Ferris wheel car and landing on the amusement ride’s platform at the annual Batavia Windmill City Festival July 9, Brian Byrne, 48 , of Batavia, suffered a broken leg, a spearated shoulder and a cut on his head.

Byrne’s attorney, Chris Hurley, said Byrne has a cast on his leg and has not yet returned to work.

“He’s recovering,” Hurley said. “He’s on the comeback.”

Hurley said Byrne fell out of the ride when he leaned forward to wave to his wife, who stood on the ground watching.

“I think there is a flaw in the mechanism that closed the ride or in how it was closed,” Hurley said.

Byrne was riding the Ferris wheel with his 9-year-old daughter, who almost fell out as well. She managed to stay in, Hurley said.

Following the accident, Byrne was taken to the Delnor-Community Hospital emergency room for treatment, and was released early the next morning, Batavia police said.

The Ferris wheel was immediately taken out of service by the Batavia Police Department, and the car was taken as evidence for investigation.

Police Cmdr. Gregory Thrun said the department handed the car over to the Illinois Department of Labor, responsible for inspecting and certifying carnival rides. Amusement and carnival ride inspector Margaret Royer went to the Police Department July 11 to examine the car, police said.

Hurley said the goal of the investigation is to find out who was responsible for the accident. He said the cause of the accident could have been a manufacturing defect, a maintenance flaw or an operation error. Hurley said it’s not Byrne’s fault, as he should have been able to wave at his wife without falling out of the ride.

“Who’s responsible is going to have to compensate for (Byrne’s) medical bills,” Hurley said.

St. Charles-based Windy City Amusements owns and operated the ride. The company did not wish to comment since the invetigation is ongoing.

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