KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas city water slide hyped as the highest in the world, was a “deadly weapon” that was already injured more than a dozen people for a 10-year-old boy was beheaded, in 2016, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Friday that the cost of the water park operator and an executive with involuntary manslaughter.
The operators of the Verruckt water slide in Schlitterbahn water Park in Kansas City, Kansas, also knew that the raft, and Caleb Schwab and two women used during the fatal accident was inclined to go faster and in the air more than others. It was removed twice in 2016 but quickly back into circulation, the indictment says.
“The ride was never properly or fully designed to prevent the rafts from the air,” the indictment said.
The water park and Tyler Austin Miles, 29, a former operations director of the park, were indicted Friday on involuntary manslaughter and a number of other costs in Caleb’s death. The indictment claims that a company co-owner and designer of the Verruckt as a matter of urgency to use and had no technical or engineering expertise related to amusement park rides.
The charges come after a 19-month investigation into the death of Schwab, the son of Kansas Rep. Scott Schwab. The raft he was in was on the air, hitting a pole and nets designed to keep the riders being thrown from the ride.
The indictment says a video shows He was after all the rider instructions when he died.
The death appeared to be an isolated accident to whistleblowers from Schlitterbahn showed that the experts who examined the slide found evidence to suggest other rafts had gone the air and came in collision with the overhead hoops and netting for the death, according to the indictment.
The ride complied with “little or no” long safety standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials, and business correspondence found that “the child is dead, and the rapidly growing list of injuries were foreseeable and the expected results,” according to the indictment.
The researchers found 13 injuries to others during the 182 days on the ride to operate, including two concussions and a case where a 15-year-old girl went temporarily blind.
A spokeswoman for Schlitterbahn not immediately return a request for comment after the indictment of the company was opened.
The other charges in the indictment are aggravated battery and aggravated endangering of a child. Miles was indicted on two points of interference with the police and Schlitterbahn was indicted on one count of interference with the enforcement of the law.
The ride was made after Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeffrey Wayne, Henry made a “spur of the moment” decision in 2012 to build the world’s largest water slide to make an impression on the producers of the Travel Channel show. The indictment says that Henry wants to be a “rush project” and with him and his designer a lack of expertise caused them to “skip fundamental steps in the design process.”
The indictment also said that not a single engineer was directly involved in Verruckt engineering, or slide path design.
Miles pleaded not guilty Friday during a brief appearance. His lawyers had asked that his bond be reduced to $15,000 of the $50,000, but that request was denied. A lawsuit is scheduled for Sept. 10.
Km allegedly avoided or postponed repairs that Verruckt out of the commission that during the active park season and driving brake system failed 10 days before Caleb’s death, the researchers said. He is also accused of telling a police detective that he was not aware of any complaints about the ride, and of withholding the “thousands” of burdensome daily reports of lead lifeguards and supervisors.
Schlitterbahn, which is based in Texas, said in a statement after charges against Miles, it was announced that it was “deeply disappointed to learn each individual personally charged for the terrible accident on Verruckt.
“Our review of the facts and circumstances of the accident is still never a proof of criminal behavior on the part of everyone,” spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said.
Scott Schwab and his attorney, Mike Rader, not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.
The slide is closed since Caleb’s death. Schlitterbahn has said that it will dismantle the ride when the investigation into the death is completed.
Caleb Schwab’s family reached settlements of nearly $20 million with Schlitterbahn and the various companies associated with the design and construction of the slide. The two women who rode with Caleb had a serious injury and settled claims with Schlitterbahn for an undisclosed amount.
Before the boy’s death, Kansas law allowed the parks to perform their own annual inspections of the rides. Lawmakers last year almost unanimously approved a stricter, annual inspection requirements for amusement park attractions of qualifications for inspectors and the required parks to report injuries and deaths to the state.
But only weeks later, lawmakers passed a follow-up bill delaying the implementation of criminal sanctions for operating a ride without a state permit until this year. And this year, the Senate and a House committee have approved legislation to reduce regulation for “limited use” rides at events like county fairs and exempt from a number of forms of entertainment, such as hay rides, of the regulation.