Park Director Indicted Over Ride That Decapitated Boy

Tyler Austin Miles turns himself in
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2018 8:20 AM CDT
This June 2016 file photo provided by David Strickland shows Caleb Schwab, the son of Scott Schwab, a Kansas state lawmaker from Olathe.   (David Strickland via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Last year, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was decapitated riding a Kansas waterslide. Friday a grand jury indicted the company running the park and former director Tyler Austin Miles with involuntary manslaughter, saying they brazenly flouted safety rules and covered up previous accidents, USA Today reports. Caleb's death "appeared at first to be an isolated and unforeseeable incident" until whistleblowers stepped forward at the company, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, per the indictment. And company co-owner Jeffrey Wayne Henry designed the 17-story ride despite being a high-school dropout who "possesses no technical or engineering credentials."

Seems Schlitterbahn rushed construction of the "Verruckt" waterslide to gain publicity on the Travel Channel's Xtreme Waterparks series. "Hey guys, come on!" the indictment says, quoting an internal document. "Are you gonna let me have the bragging rights? ... We are the tallest ride in the world!" The company apparently ignored safety issues raised by an outside engineering firm, failed to follow safety standards, ignored whistleblowers, covered up evidence of previous injuries on the ride, and failed to maintain it, the Kansas City Star reports. Miles, 29, who turned himself in Friday, faces as much as $300,000 in fines and 31 to 136 months in prison. (Caleb's dad, a Kansas state representative, recalls his son's last words.)

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