Two things were certain from the moment 52-year-old Rosy Esparza's body hit the earth after a 75-foot plunge from the Texas Giant. One was that the Six Flags Over Texas' iconic roller coaster would reopen, after a properly respectful period of course. Two was that Esparza's family would file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The only surprising thing was that both things would be announced on the same day, but so turn the gears of the cosmos. Or, alternately, so turn the gears inside the head of a canny plaintiff's attorney eying maximum publicity for his client.
The suit, filed Tuesday in Tarrant County, claims that Six Flags should have known the dangers of putting patrons on coasters with only lap bars and no seat belts or harnesses. It also claims that inspections performed after Esparza's fall revealed that "various parts of the security systems on the ride were experiencing inconsistencies and intermittent failures."
See also: A Brief History of Death and Six Flags
The safety bars on the ride didn't lock in a uniform position, and the signal that alerts the ride operator when the safety bars are properly in place malfunctioned. The complaint says that, in the wake of the accident, the park replaced the "limit switch" in Esparza's car, which triggers the green light that tells operators it's safe to start the ride.
The family is seeking damages in excess of $1 million.
"We are heartbroken and will forever feel the pain and sadness of this tragic accident. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Esparza," Steve Martindale, president of Six Flags Over Texas, said in a statement. "The safety of our guests and employees is our company's absolute highest priority and we try to take every reasonable precaution to eliminate the risk of accidents."
With that in mind, the park announced that the Texas Giant will reopen this weekend, albeit with seat belts, extra padding on lap bars, and sample seats at the ride entrance so patrons can tell if they can fit, according to The Dallas Morning News.
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