Go Bananas closed after roller coaster death

April 4, 2011 9:13:39 AM PDT
A boy was riding a roller coaster with his identical twin brother when he reportedly freed himself from the safety bar and fell off the ride at Norridge amusement park Go Bananas.

Police are calling it a tragic accident, but there are a lot of questions Sunday evening.

The accident happened at the Go Bananas family entertainment center in northwest suburban Norridge.

The Cook County Medical Examiner has ruled the child's death an accident.

Meanwhile, officials conducting their investigation say it appears the boy met the height requirement for the ride. A police officer said the somehow freed himself from the safety bar.

Shatesha Mottley just can't believe there'll be no birthday party for her 1-year-old daughter Tanyia -- the family drove all the way from Champaign, Ill., Sunday afternoon only to find Go Bananas closed.

"We paid a deposit and now they're closed, and they didn't even call me or nothing," Mottley said.

Authorities shut down the well-known family entertainment center Saturday night after 3-year-old Jayson Dansby of south suburban Dolton died there when he fell from a children's roller coaster and then was struck by one of the ride's cars.

"I don't want to remember the accident. I need to remember what time I spent with this child," said the victim's great uncle Pastor Carl Jones.

Norridge police say calls to 9-1-1 about the incident began around 7 p.m. Saturday.

Relatives say Go Bananas was packed with weekend patrons as Jayson and his identical twin brother enjoyed a night out with their parents.

The boys were riding the Python Pit roller coaster, seen on ABC7 in a video previously posted on YouTube, when he somehow freed himself from the safety bar and became wedged between two of the cars, eventually falling 3 or 4 feet from the ride.

"Last night, one of the state inspectors came out and inspected the ride. They did a preliminary inspection, put a certificate on it that said the ride could not be used. There is going to be an additional inspection as well as inspection of all of the rides at the establishment," said Norridge Police Chief James Jobe.

As state inspectors performed a preliminary investigation, village officials shut down the business until all the rides are tested.

Go Bananas issued this statement:

"We are unable to make any comments right now. We are doing everything we can to cooperate with the investigation."

The accident is a shock to many.

"There's people always supervising the rides, I mean, it's not like it's being neglected or people are not monitoring the situation," said Go Bananas patron Scott Riopelle.

All day, patrons arrived to find the amusement facility closed.

Officials say no other injuries or similar incidents have occurred at Go Bananas since it has been in business.

That's little comfort to Go Bananas patron Jesus Garcia.

"I wanted to bring my kids here, but since this happened yesterday, now I'm thinking twice," Garcia said.

Go Bananas has been closed since Saturday night and will not reopen until all of the rides have been inspected, officials say.