Victim in Cedar Point Top Thrill Dragster Accident "Fighting For Her Life"

click to enlarge Top Thrill Dragster - Jeremy Thompson/FlickrCC
Jeremy Thompson/FlickrCC
Top Thrill Dragster

The victim in the Aug. 15 accident at Cedar Point who while waiting in line was struck in the head by a part that became dislodged from the Top Thrill Dragster ride is "fighting for her life," according to a statement released by her family.

The woman, a 44-year-old resident of Michigan identified as Rachel Hawes, was first treated on scene then at Firelands Medical Center before being transferred to St. Vincent's Hospital in Toledo where she's currently in intensive care with a brain injury.

“We are devastated by last weekend’s accident at Cedar Point," her family said in a statement provided to WEWS. "We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time. Rachel is fighting for her life, and we would ask for privacy in this difficult time."

In a monday briefing, David Miran, the chief of amusement rides for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, said the piece that struck Hawes was an "L-shaped bracket" that broke off the back of a train, likely while the train was traveling at or near its max speed of 120 mph. The bracket is supposed to hover over the track and relay information. On Aug. 15, it came in contact with the track and broke off.

"The object that struck the victim was a metal L-shaped bracket, known as a flag plate. It is approximately the size of an adult male's hand," Miran said. "The plates are used to communicate to the rides operating system that the car has passed a portion of the track. The plate was dislodged from the left side of the ride’s green train car and struck the victim in the head," Miran said. "Upon inspection, it was determined that half of the bolts which secured the plate to the train body had also dislodged."

Cedar Point inspects rides daily. The last state inspection came on May 14 and detailed required fixes including "hydraulic upgrades, a hydraulic propulsion system upgrade and repairs to black cherry car No. 2's right rear lap-bar cylinder soft repair and a lap bar cylinder creep test."

The ride has been shut down for the rest of the year.
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Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
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