Designer of Waterslide Arrested at Airport

John Schooley drew up 17-story ride on which a boy died in 2016
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2018 11:56 AM CDT
Deadly Waterslide's Designer Arrested
This July 2014 file image from video shows John Schooley, left, and Jeffrey Henry.   (Monty Davis /The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

The designer of the world's tallest waterslide—on which the 10-year-old son of a Kansas state lawmaker was decapitated in 2016—has been arrested. John Schooley, who drew up the 17-story attraction at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, was taken into custody Tuesday at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport following a flight from China, reports CNN. The arrest came a week after second-degree murder charges were laid in the death of Caleb Schwab. Jeffrey Henry, the co-owner of Schlitterbahn, and Tyler Miles, the former operations director of the Kansas park, were already in custody when those charges were announced.

The 72-year-old Schooley will now be sent to Kansas, where all the defendants—including a construction company—additionally face charges of aggravated battery and aggravated endangering of a child. Those charges stem from injuries, including concussions, suffered by 13 riders before Caleb's raft went airborne and collided with a metal hoop on Aug. 7, 2016, killing him and injuring two others, reports NBC 5. Prosecutors allege water park employees tried to hide from investigators documents describing the injuries. But "the allegation that we operated, and failed to maintain, a ride that could foreseeably cause such a tragic accident is beyond the pale of speculation," the water park said in a statement last week. The waterslide had been in operation about six months before the fatal incident. (Read more Schlitterbahn stories.)

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