When people go to an amusement park or waterpark, especially with their children, they expect it to be safe. We put an enormous amount of trust in the designers who envision these massive constructions that create the illusion of defying physics. Most of the type we can trust that these adrenaline-inducing thrill rides just create the illusion of danger and afterwards we can go home. On August 7, 2016 10-year-old Caleb Schwab lost his life just trying to have fun and now the designers of the ride who killed him have been charged with murder.
Jeffrey Wayne Henry, a designer of the waterslide and co-owner of Schlitterbahn Companies, John Timothy Schooley, another slide designer and and Henry & Sons Construction Company, Inc. were indicted on involuntary manslaughter and other charges by Wyandotte County grand jury on Friday.
Although Caleb Schwab was the only person to lose his life on the Verrückt (German for crazy or insane) waterslide at Schlitterbahn Kansas City, 13 other people have been injured on the same slide leading three more people to be charged with aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child.
62-year-old Jeff Henry is currently being help without bond in Texas and will likely be extradited to Kansas. Jeff was known as a “visionary” for the 17-story slide that debuted in 2014 as the world’s tallest water slide. That vision has now turned into a nightmare.
Caleb was the son of Kansas lawmaker Scott Schwab and was at the park on a special day at the park designated for elected officials. He was on a raft with two women when their raft went airborne and hit a metal hoop supporting a netting system that was supposed to keep rides safe. Unfortunately Caleb passed away and the two women suffered severe injuries.
On Monday Schlitterbahn made a statement in response to the indictments:
“During the civil matter, attorneys involved noted that we cooperated fully, provided thousands of documents, and that nothing was withheld or tampered with. The secret Grand Jury never heard one word from us directly, nor were we allowed to provide contradictory evidence. And we have plenty.
“In fact, the indictment presented is so full of false information that it has shocked the Kansas legal community.”