RodeoHouston changes 16 carnival rides' policies after accident


By now, many of you have probably seen our exclusive cell phone video of the 3-year-old girl falling from the ride. Rodeo officials have seen it, too, and now we've learned they're making more changes out at the carnival.

The crowds were out on force on Friday, but many people probably didn't realize there was a change in the ride policies prompted by what happened on Wednesday to that young girl.

A video taken by a parent capturing his own child's ride on the Techno Jump inadvertently recorded the girl's fall. Her mother couldn't fit into the seat so she let the girl, who met the minimum height rule ride, with her brother. In one image, she appears to be slumping in the seat. A few seconds later, as the car sweeps by again, she is seen trying to hold on with her body swinging in the air. Moments later, she was flung to the ground.

She has been released from the hospital after what's been called a concussion. Her family has hired an attorney.

The Techno Jump ride was put back into operation Wednesday evening, and people were lining up for it as soon as the rides opened Friday.

Despite all the publicity, some parents were unaware of the incident.

"You heard about this ride, right?" we asked Latonya Roberts, a mother of two kids.

"No," she said.

"The one where the little girl fell off," we said.

"This is the one?" she said.

Rules for the Techno Jump ride were enhanced after the girl's fall. After touring the midway late Thursday night, Rodeo CEO Leroy Shafer ordered that a total of 16 similar rides to now require a "supervising companion" who is 16 years or older.

"That supervising companion is going to have to be an adult. That's the way it will have to be from now on and that's gong beyond industry standards," Shafer said.

The images of the falling child, while dramatic, still don't show how she managed to elude the restraints of both a seat belt and a lap bar.

But for Roberts, it was the fact that it happened at all that scared her; her kids will be going on only the tamest of rides.

"The rides I don't feel are appropriate for them, I'm not going to put them on it; we'll just pass that up," she said.

We contacted the Texas Department of Insurance for comment. A spokesman for the agency acknowledged officials there had seen the video but said an opinion would not be appropriate.

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