Nightmare Rides: Do Parks and Carnivals Need Stricter Laws?

Sometimes a fun day with the family turns into a horrific nightmare, and suddenly your life is turned upside down. That is what happened to an Omaha mother who took her daughter to a carnival for Cinco De Mayo and is now fighting for stricter ride regulations.

Brace yourself. What happened to her little girl, Elizabeth Gilreath, 11, is truly horrific. The child’s scalp was partly ripped off after her hair got caught in the ride — it was torn from her eyelids to the back of her neck. The girl is recovering more rapidly than expected, reports

Horrific Injuries

Gilreath is able to see from one eye and is able to drink and talk again. She still does not have vision in one eye and will remain hospitalized for some time. Virgina Cooksey, Gilreath’s mother, is now focusing on ride regulations. She wants the law strengthened. “I want the rides to be safer,” she said. “I want to make sure there are seat belts on these rides, that there is more maintenance done to them.”

Gilreath fell while riding and her hair got caught. There was no note of what type of ride the girl was on, but she was standing apparently. Cooksey says Gilreath blames herself for the horrific injury. Mom, on the other hand, understandably believes that this accident should not have happened and is calling for better ride oversight and tougher safety requirements.

In Solidarity

Mom and Cooksey’s three other daughters all shaved one side of their heads in solidarity with their sister,. This symbolic gesture, while sweet, cannot compare to the trauma of losing a scalp, and Gilreath still has a long road to total recovery. Her mother expects it to be challenging, apart from the physical difficulties the girl faces. “I already see it right now,” Cooksey said. “She’s going to have to go through years of therapy. She feels like it’s her fault.”

Talk to a Lawyer

If you were injured on a carnival ride, at an amusement park, or in any other context, talk to a lawyer. Tell your story. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your case.

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