Dallas, TX State Fair Amusement Ride Accident, Oct 1983



Dallas (AP) -- A car on a popular spinning midway ride broke loose, hung precariously for five or six revolutions and plummeted more than 50 feet into a crowd of people at the State Fair of Texas, killing one man, seriously injuring two others and sending five other people to hospitals.
Bob Halford, assistant general manager of the fair, said the dead man and the two seriously injured men were in the five-passenger car when it separated from the ride, flew about 50 feet and fell between another ride and a root beer stand about 8:05 p.m. Monday.
Robert Breckenridge, a field agent for the Dallas County Medical examiner's office, said a 19-year-old man was pronounced dead at 9:14 p.m. at Parkland Hospital. Claude McCain, night administrator at Parkland, identified the dead man as WILLIAM PHILLIPS of Allen, about 25 miles north of Dallas.
MARION T. PHILLIPS, 23, a brother of the deceased, and MICHAEL OLIVARRI, 15, who recently moved from San Antonio, were reported in serious condition at Parkland. Halford said the three had attended the fair together.
Five other people were sent to Dallas hospitals with lesser injuries and fair officials said nine other people were treated at first aid stations for accident-related ailments ranging from possible ankle and neck injuries to upset stomachs.
Mary Brown, 19, of Dallas was working at a cotton candy stand on the midway of the State Fair of Texas when she heard "a loud bang and then some popping" about 8:05 p.m. Monday.
"I guess it was the thing cracking," she said.
"I looked around and saw a car flying through the air. I just jumped out of the booth and started running. I only saw two guys on the ground ... one of them was in pretty bad shape," Ms. Brown said.
Glenn Freeman, operator of another ride on the Midway, said he saw a car on the
"Enterprise" shaking about two hours before the accident. Freeman said he told the operator of the "Enterprise" about the problem and said the two examined the ride and found a damaged weld on one of the cars. Freeman said he told the operator to send for a welder to repair the joint.
Fair officials said they received no reports of problems with the ride or any request for a welder.
Halford said the accident will be thoroughly investigated. Fair officials barricaded the area around the ride immediately after the accident and impounded the car.

The Paris News Texas 1983-10-18