The woman who was seriously injured by a piece of metal which flew off Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster has filed suit against the park.
Rachel Hawes, of Swartz Creek, Michigan, was standing in line for the Sandusky, Ohio coaster on Aug. 15, 2021, when she was struck in the head by what is called a proximity flag plate that had come loose from one of the coaster’s cars.
Little has been reported about Hawes’ precise injuries, but the 14-page complaint states that she suffered head trauma, a traumatic brain injury with hemorrhaging and a hematoma and “right open skull fracture,” leaving her “permanently disabled” and “no longer able to work.”
An Ohio government report released in 2022 cleared Cedar Point of wrongdoing in the leadup to the accident.
However, Hawes’ suit, filed in Erie County, Ohio, alleges the park was negligent and should be financially responsible for her lost future income (approximately $1.26 million) medical bills ($2 million), and the daily medical assistance she requires following the accident. Intamin, the ride’s manufacturer, is also named in the suit, citing the company signing off on reduced offseason maintenance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The suit also alleges that Cedar Point has engaged in “destruction of evidence” by removing portions of the Top Thrill Dragster track. The coaster has not operated since the accident and Cedar Point has been at work on a revamped version due to open in 2024.
“The willful destruction of the return side of the track by these Defendants was to disrupt Plaintiffs’ case,” the complaint says.
The park had tweeted about the ongoing ride construction the day before the suit was filed.
— Cedar Point (@cedarpoint) July 11, 2023
Hawes’ attorney, Jim Murray, said in a statement to the Sandusky Register: “This incident should have never occurred. Rachel suffered permanent and life-altering injuries as a result of being struck in the head by a dislodged flag plate while simply standing in line. The aftermath of Rachel’s injuries has been a continuing nightmare for her and her family. As a longtime Erie County resident who takes pride in Cedar Point’s contribution to our community, I hope Cedar Point will demonstrate it cares for its patrons by taking full responsibility for Rachel’s injuries.”
Cedar Point has declined to comment on the suit to multiple media outlets.