Family who saw coaster death sues Norridge amusement park
A 3-year-old boy from Dolton died in 2011after falling from an chldren's indoor roller coaster at Go Bananas in Norridge. This week, a family who had been sitting behind the boy filed a lawsuit against the business. | Sun-Tmes Media
Updated: March 12, 2013 6:50PM
NORRIDGE — A family who watched a toddler fall to his death on a roller coaster in Norridge in 2011 is suing the indoor amusement park, claiming they are still traumatized over the incident.
Zuhdi and Suhad Shehadi filed the suit Wednesday against Go Bananas, 4516 N. Harlem Ave., on behalf of themselves and their young children, son Elzedin and daughter Elisa.
The family was sitting behind 3-year-old Jayson Dansby when the boy crawled out from beneath a safety bar and fell April 2, 2011, while riding a small children’s roller coaster called the Python Pit, according to the suit.
Jayson, of Dolton, died from head injuries after becoming wedge between two of the cars, authorities said at the time.
The Shehadis claim they all tried to lean forward out of their car and coax the boy to sit down, but to no avail. They claim the ride rolled over the boy two more times, even though they and other patrons were shouting at employees to stop the roller coaster.
The coaster operator told police at the time that she pushed the emergency stop button on the ride, but it did not work. The operator told investigators the ride “won’t stop until it goes through a full cycle,” the police report states.
The Shehadis say in the suit they have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, and are struggling with nightmares and depression after witnessing the ordeal.
They blame Go Bananas and the roller coaster’s manufacturer, E & F Miler Industries, for failing to have a proper harness for the small child, failing to have an adequate emergency braking system and for not stopping the ride once riders yelled that the boy was standing up.
Neither the owner of Go Bananas nor a representative for E & F Miler Industries could be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
The 24-count personal injury suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court. It seeks at least $1.2 million in damages, including reimbursement for the family’s medical bills.
This is not the first lawsuit stemming from the tragic accident.
The toddler’s mother, Lisa Dansby, filed a negligence suit against the indoor theme park later that month. Another customer who witnessed Jayson’s death, Marion Grant, filed a separate lawsuit against Go Bananas claiming she suffered emotional distress and anxiety while trying to help him.