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Parents searching for answers after child seriously injured on carnival ride

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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LOGAN, W.Va. (WSAZ) - What started as a fun night at the Logan Freedom Festival ended with a trip to the hospital for a 6-year-old boy.

On Friday night, four of Gabby and Clinton McNeely’s children were on a carnival ride when it suddenly came off the track. Their son Jason hit his head in the crash and suffered a concussion, nasal contusion and crushing head injury.

“I noticed it just jerked real quick,” Gabby McNeely said. “All I see is my son covered in blood. I didn’t know what to do. I just grabbed him and started running to figure out whoever can help him.”

She is thankful that no one else was seriously injured in the crash, that sent a number of other children to the hospital.

Clinton described the incident as a “nightmare,” ending just one loop into the ride. He is now calling for the ride to be shutdown until the problem can be fixed by its operator, Gambill Amusements.

“Our youngest son, the one who was sitting next to the one who was injured, he’s too traumatized to even go downtown to where the festival was,” Clinton said. “Our other kids, I’m sure they are going to be scared of the rides for a while.”

Gambill Amusements owner Shane Turner said the ride had a sudden mechanical failure that caused the crash. They were able to get a replacement part to repair the ride and re-inspect it within 30 minutes. The ride continued to operate for the rest of the Freedom Festival and will be at the Putnam County Fair this weekend.

“Just like cars or anything else, they are machines,” Turner said about the rides. “So, things go wrong. It was an unfortunate accident.”

Rides are inspected during set-up and each morning by Gambill employees, in addition to once a week by state inspectors, Turner said. Gambill has a team of inspectors who work to ensure every ride is functioning as it should and look to find problems before anyone can get injured.

A failure like this happens only every five years, Turner said.

The Logan Police Department completed an incident report on the crash. Officers said no criminal charges will come as a result of the crash.

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