An executive at Schlitterbahn Water Park in Kansas City was charged in connection with the death of a 10-year-old boy who died on a water slide in 2016, according to KTLA sister station WDAF in Kansas City.
The attraction, which was built in 2014, was once promoted as the world’s tallest water slide at 168 feet, 7 inches. It has since been permanently shut down.
Miles worked as the director of operations for Schlitterbahn. His job duties included overseeing all water park and property operations ranging from aquatics and facility services to water quality control, landscaping and grounds and maintenance.
Caleb was riding the slide with two adult women. One woman suffered a broken jaw, and the other suffered a broken bone in her face and had to have stitches in her eye. The two women have since agreed to out-of-court financial settlements in the case.
Several others were also hurt on the ride, suffering injuries from concussions to slipped spinal disks, and the "documentation of injuries began almost immediately" after the ride was unveiled, according to a 47-page indictment obtained by the Kansas City Star.
The man who designed the water slide "possessed no engineering credential relevant to amusement ride design or safety," and it was designed to impress TV executives, the indictment alleges.
At the time of Caleb’s death, the slide was in compliance with Kansas’ legal requirements for amusements rides, which mostly involve proper record-keeping. State law mandates that parks annually “self-inspect” their rides and maintain the records.
According to WDAF, several other states rejected the building of the Verrückt water slide, but lax amusement ride regulations in Kansas allowed the ride to be built at the Schlitterbahn park in Kansas City, Kan.
Miles is the first person charged with Caleb’s death. He is currently being held on a $50,000 bond.
Schlitterbahn issued the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed to learn that any individual is being personally charged for the terrible accident on Verrückt. Our review of the facts and circumstances of the accident has never shown any evidence of criminal conduct on the part of anyone. The safety of our guests and employees has been at the forefront of our culture throughout our 40 years of operations. Our families enjoy our water parks and its rides and attractions. We have set the highest bar for safety in our industry.
Our staff, since we opened Schlitterbahn Kansas City, has demonstrated the highest dedication to safety, from the training of our lifeguards and ride operators, to ensuring all rides have operated in accordance with our strict protocols. Our team has been conscientious and committed to providing visitors to the water park a safe and enjoyable experience. We are shocked by any allegations of impropriety or negligence on the part of anyone associated with Verrückt.
Throughout his employment with us, our operations director, Tyler, demonstrated the highest dedication to safety, from the training of our lifeguards and ride operators, to ensuring all rides have operated in accordance with our strict protocols. He was conscientious and committed to providing visitors to the water park a safe and enjoyable experience. Tyler left us in September to accept great opportunity; we were sorry to see him go and wished him well. We stand by him and are shocked by these allegations.”