Local News

Unreported problem at State Fair similar to accident that injured 12-year-old

Posted November 13, 2014

— The company that owns a bungee-jump ride that malfunctioned and injured a 12-year-old Raleigh girl at the North Carolina State Fair last month owns a similar ride from which another girl was dropped on the same day.

Mark Spessard, also of Raleigh, said Thursday that the same thing happened to his 12-year-old daughter, Callahan, on another ride elsewhere on the midway.

She landed on a trampoline and, although emotionally shaken, wasn't injured.

Records from the North Carolina Department of Labor, which is now investigating the cases, indicate that Cowboy Attractions LLC, based in Ocala, Fla., own both rides.

The company's general partner, Pam McDonald, did not return calls seeking comment Thursday about Spessard's claim.

Previously, however, she declined to comment for the news report on Gallagher, doing so at the advice of her attorney.

Brian Long, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said Gallagher's case was the only accident reported at the fair this year.

"The important thing we want to stress is, if you see something, let us know about it," he said Thursday.

Rides at the state fair, he said, are supposed to be inspected three times every day. Operators are supposed to report any accidents that involve medical care beyond general first-aid and also report whenever there is damage to a ride.

Spessard said he talked with the ride operator after realizing his daughter was physically OK. The operator, he said, showed him a pin that he said had broken.

Because his daughter was upset and wanted to leave, he did not go to a fair official or security guard to report what happened.

He said he wished he had.

But because he didn't immediately report it, there's no way to fully know what happened.

Long said that's why it is important to report problems the moment they happen.

"We want to know if something is wrong. If we don't know about it, it's hard to do something about it," he said. "That's why it's so important the public help us out in that regard."


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  • Keith Bonham Nov 14, 2014
    user avatar

    It doesn't matter if the rides are broken down and reassembled weekly. Look at Disney for example:

  • LetsBeFair Nov 14, 2014

    Why is it, that for years guns were not allowed, but when they finally were, there was a fuss. For all the accidents and reporting, still no reporting that NO ONE brought a gun ... ever.

  • Steve Austin Nov 14, 2014
    user avatar

    it happen to me too! Where do I report it????

  • Itsmyopinion67 Nov 14, 2014

    I don't care about rides breaking....just please keep those guns away!!

  • Mary Dodd Nov 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Is it that slow a news day that WRAL is hammering in on this? Are they trying to keep people away from subsequent fairs? You would think that people would understand that something like a bungee jump carries a slight amount of risk; she landed on a trampoline- she wasn't injured. What's the story here?

  • michellerecchia Nov 14, 2014

    I know for a fact this happened to Mr.Spessurds daughter because she was before me and my son in line, she was hooked up by the ride operator and she jumped up did one flip, came back down to the trampoline and jumped back up...when she went up in the air the second time the cords snapped and she fell from the air onto the trampoline and landed on her knees. After it happened I told my son he could not do the ride and we walked off.

  • tri123 Nov 14, 2014

    Way to teach her community responsibility! That would be like me saying, "I was so upset about the driver that ran me off the freeway that I didn't call 911 to keep him from killing someone." Except I did. Because that's what responsible people do.

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Nov 14, 2014

    Sue Sue Sue!

    The state should be held liable as well. They endorsed this mess.

  • hirondelle Nov 14, 2014

    Yes, let's sue Steve Troxler because I am sure he personally built all rides and attractions at the fair! Before, Troxler there were no state fairs in North Carolina. It's not like it's been around since 1853...

    But go ahead and spend thousands of dollars on lawyer fees and receive a payment that's eventually going to come out of the taxpayers's pockets.

  • didisaythat Nov 14, 2014

    SHUT THE FAIR DOWN. It will be my ultimate goal to close every building, stadium, park, airport, shopping mall, restaurant and roller skating rink that someone was injured in, on the property or near the property. Who's with me. It's for the children.