Feds Looking into Fatal Houston Roller Coaster Accident

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The federal government has joined the investigation into the fatal Houston roller coaster accident that claimed the life of a 47-year-old father last month.

When you get on a roller coaster ride there should be no reason for a person to be ejected.

The federal government has joined the investigation into the fatal Houston rollercoaster accident that claimed the life of a 47-year-old father last month.

Houston Injury Lawyer Joe Stephens called for a hard look at the amusement park operator in a letter he sent to the Texas Department of Insurance. Two years ago, he assisted a woman in filing an amusement park negligence complaint with the state after the safety restraint allegedly failed in the first car on the exact same coaster. The victim of last month's accident fell from the first car, and plummeted 30 feet to his death, according to ABC13 News.

For weeks, officials from the carnival and rodeo have insisted there is nothing wrong with the ride. Despite the previous complaint filed on the coaster, ride operators appeared on television to deny any previous complaints about the ride. And the mandatory injury report to the Texas Department of Insurance did not reflect the fact that someone had died as a result of the accident. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Ray Cammack Shows and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo over the Hi-Miler roller coaster (Harris County cause no. 2011-18268). Stephens previously represented an injury victim in an amusement park lawsuit for negligence against Ray Cammack Shows (Harris County cause no. 2002-53262).

Stephens applauds the move by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission to intervene. The Texas Department of Insurance, which has oversight, had essentially refused to investigate the matter despite Stephens and others call for a major investigation.

"Somebody's got to do something or the ride must be shut down," the prominent Houston accident lawyer told ABC. "I said we'll meet with you at any time and any place."

The CPSC issues safety advisories to state officials responsible for ride inspections and can issue a recall if a ride is deemed unsafe.

"When you get on a roller coaster ride there should be no reason for a person to be ejected," Stephens said.

Houston police are also investigating the death.

The next stop for the roller coaster was the Pima County Fair in Tucson, Arizona. The roller coaster is not in operation there. However, the website for Ray Cammack Shows still features it as one of the many rides the company offers to fairs and carnivals around the country.

Joe Stephens has nearly three decades of experience representing personal injury and wrongful death cases. He is one of the nation's foremost authorities on amusement park accident cases. He is nationally recognized for winning many publicized jury trials, including the "Clara Harris case"--the Dentist who ran over her cheating husband in her silver Mercedes (Harris County cause no. 2004-37461). A Personal Injury Trial Law Specialist through the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1993, Attorney Stephens has won multiple verdicts over $1 million and is a Million Dollar Advocates Member.

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Joe Stephens
Stephens Law Firm
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