Cedar Point found not responsible for Top Thrill Dragster accident last year that injured patron

Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 11:24 PM EST
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SANDUSKY, Ohio (WOIO) - Cedar Point is off the hook for a rollercoaster accident last summer that severely injured one person.

A six-month-long investigation found that the amusement park is not responsible for the Top Thrill Dragster mishap that left a Michigan woman with brain damage.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture released a 620-page report on Friday, explaining their investigation into Cedar Point’s popular rollercoaster, the Top Thrill Dragster.

Investigators said they did not find enough evidence to show that the theme park violated any state laws.

Last August, a 44-year-old Michigan woman was badly hurt when a metal bracket fell off the Top Thrill Dragster rollercoaster and hit her in the back of her head.

The last time 19 News spoke with Rachel Hawes’ family, they told us she had a serious brain injury.

People who live in Sandusky still can’t believe it happened.

“I mean, you know it’s terrible, I mean, you go to have a good time with your family and then that,” said Lucia Fultz.

“I think it’s a shock that something would happen like that. You know it’s a shame, but you know wild things happen,” said William Yohe.

The ODA is not recommending any administrative action against Cedar Point.

The ODA said the purpose of their investigation was not to determine the cause of the accident, just to make sure the amusement park followed all the laws in place to ensure the rollercoaster’s safety.

The ODA said their investigation included a post-accident inspection of the ride, interviews with Cedar Point staff, a review of thousands of pages of maintenance records, witness interviews, and lab reports.

After all that, they say they found no evidence to indicate that Cedar Point knew the Top Thrill Dragster ride was unsafe or could cause a hazard to the public.

“If all their paperwork was in order and it was a freak accident, I don’t think anything should happen to them,” said Yohe. “I mean I think they should be kind enough and generous enough to help the family out.”

“I feel like it probably should be a little stricter then because something like that shouldn’t happen,” said Sandusky resident Misty Townsend. “I mean I seen, like, a picture of what that metal was and that was a pretty thick piece of metal to just snap off like that.”

19 News reached out to Cedar Point.

They sent us a statement that reads in part, “Cedar Point has cooperated fully with ODA throughout its investigation into the incident and we will closely review the substance of ODA’s report.”

Cedar Point said the Top Thrill Dragster will still remain closed for the 2022 season.

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