Lawsuit filed in boy's roller coaster death

April 20, 2011 2:45:54 PM PDT
The family of a young Chicago boy is suing a northwest suburban amusement center. Three-year-old Jayson Dansby died earlier this month after falling out of the roller coaster at Go Bananas.

Following public comments made by the owner of Go Bananas two weeks ago -- that investigations in to what happened April 2 at his play center showed no mechanical or human errors led to young Jayson's death -- the parents of the 3-year-old were hurt, and Wednesday they struck back through their lawyer, who is now using to the courts to get what he says is justice for Jayson.

The sadness enveloping the Dansby family's south suburban bungalow is reflected in the tight blinds and unwillingness to comment when ABC7 went to the home where little Jayson lived.

The Dansby family is saying their boy did not have die on the Python Pit roller coaster April 2 and only did because of the negligence of a firm that caters to little children

"This was a very, very dangerous ride and was either negligently designed, maintained or both," said Dansby family attorney Patrick Salvi.

Salvi says police reports confirm that a ride operator and witnesses saw Jayson standing up during the ride's third or fourth circuit and that the operator tried desperately to stop the ride but knew it would not until the current revolution was finished.

"If you cannot stop a ride, either almost immediately or on a dime, then you have to be sure of a few things," said Salvi. "Number one, you cannot have children on there so young who do not appreciate the dangers of height, etc., and therefore you must require that parents be with them."

The lawsuit asks for compensation for the loss of society, an intangible that attempts to put a value on what it would mean for a family to lose the love and affection of a child.

Jayson was riding the Python Pit with his twin brother Jayden, and he, as well their parents Jason and Lisa, had to witness the horrible scene of the child pitched up and then apparently flipped down out of the ride to where he was hit and then stuck between two of its cars.

"There was no mechanical problems, no mechanical error involved in the accident," said Go Bananas owner Gerald Marks on April 8.

The lawsuit says nothing could be further from the truth.

ABC7 was told "no comment" by Go Bananas in telephone calls placed to Marks on Wednesday.

Salvi did not say how much the family is seeking in damages, but depending on what, if any, liability is proven in court, that sum could range into the millions of dollars.

Compensation for "grief and sorrow" is also being sought. That's a new category of damages for which one can sue under state law.