KANSAS CITY, Kansas. Two and maintenance of the workers at a Kansas water park, where a 10-year-old boy was beheaded on a slide were indicted Wednesday for obstruction of justice.
David Hughes, maintenance supervisor at Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City, and John, Zalsman, a maintenance worker, pleaded not guilty at a first appearance in Wyandotte County Court.
Caleb Schwab, was killed during the journey, the 17-story Verruckt water slide on Aug. 7, 2016. The park is co-owner and designer of the ride have also been indicted in the death.
The last indictment or a brake mat is used to slow the raft on the Verruckt was restored after it reportedly fell on July 28, 2016, just days before Caleb was killed, The Kansas City Star reported .
The authorities claim that Hughes and Zalsman told the agents with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that the brake mat was never on the ride after Verruckt opened in 2014. However, a rider of the GoPro camera showed the brake mat was in place on June 10, 2016, 18 days before it allegedly fell, according to the indictment.
A third maintenance worker, who was not charged in Wednesday’s indictment, changed his story about the brake-mat after seeing the video. He told the officers that Hughes and Tyler Miles, a former director of operations for the water park which is also confronted with the costs, were responsible for telling the maintenance crews to make repairs, according to the indictment.
Assistant Kansas attorney general Adam Zentner described the new charges as an “isolated incident.” He said that the evidence in their case will be “significantly reduced evidence” in comparison with other defendants previously charged in Schwab’s death.
Hughes and Zalsman were released on $10,000 bonds. They and their lawyers not to comment after leaving the courtroom.
Schlitterbahn said officials had no reason to believe that an employee obstructed justice.
“John and Dave have decades of experience in maintenance and are well-respected professionals on our maintenance team,” Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said in a statement. “With the help of men and women such as you and John and Dave, we run a safe operation and know that this is a tragic accident. We stand behind our employees and the safety of our park.”
The most serious lawsuits are filed against Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, Verruckt designer John Schooley and general contractor Henry & Sons Construction. Each room is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated endangerment of a child. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Miles is charged with involuntary manslaughter, aggravated battery and endangering a child, as well as the obstruction of law enforcement. Miles was accused of not providing evidence to law enforcement and with regard to the proof of the previous rider injury. Miles has also pleaded not guilty.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com