Go Bananas Theme Park Owner, Manager Charged

July 31, 2011

The owner and manager of a suburban Chicago theme park have been charged with misdemeanors following the death of a three-year-old boy on one of the park’s rides.

Jason Dansby was riding the Python Pit roller coaster at the Go Bananas theme park in Norridge when he fell out of the car, was struck, and died from traumatic head injury on April 2 of this year.

Law enforcement officials are now charging owner Jerrold Marks, 58, and his manager James Hayes, 51, with two misdemeanor charges of violating the Carnival Rides and Amusement Safety Act,according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Apparently, the Illinois Department of Labor found that the park had been keeping shoddy safety records about its equipment. But there was no sign that the equipment itself was unsafe: the Department of Labor re-inspected the Python Pit ride, and found nothing wrong with it.

According to NBC Chicago, the two men face up to a year in prison if convicted of the charges, though in reality, misdemeanors very rarely result in jail time.

The bigger court cases relating to Dansby’s death are civil proceedings, filed both by Dansby’s family and by Marion Grant, a woman who came to the boy’s aid after seeing him slip the ride’s safety restraint and fall. Dansby’s parents have filed a wrongful death suit seeking undisclosed damages, and Grant is suing for emotional distress after the incident.

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