Six Flags Over Texas denies responsibility in roller coaster death
Six Flags Over Texas is fighting back after a wrongful death lawsuit says the theme park's gross negligence contributed to the demise of Rosy Esparza. The 52-year-old woman was killed after falling out of her seat on the Texas Giant on July 19.
Represented by personal injury attorney Frank Branson, Esparza's family filed suit against Six Flags Entertainment Corporation and several subsidiaries on September 10. The very same day, Six Flags Over Texas announced that the Texas Giant was reopening after an internal investigation failed to find any mechanical problems with the ride.
An internal Six Flags investigation found no mechanical problems with the Texas Giant.
In an October 4 filing in the case, Six Flags denies any responsibility for Esparza's death. The theme park says it was an independent contractor and did not design or manufacture the roller coaster that proximately caused Esparza's death. The Esparza family is seeking at least $1 million in damages.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office ruled her death an accident caused by "multiple traumatic injuries due to a fall from a roller coaster."
Germany-based Gerstlauer Amusement Rides built the Texas Giant and its passenger restraint system. In the filing, Six Flags says it relied on Gerstlauer's expertise to ensure the ride was properly manufactured.
Six Flags reportedly performed its own "comprehensive inspection and maintenance procedure" on the Texas Giant and followed all of the manufacturer's operational instructions.
"To Six Flags' knowledge, no previous incidents of this type had occurred on any Gerstlauer roller coaster train of the type involved in the accident involving Ms. Esparza, and approximately 2.5 million people had ridden the new Texas Giant prior to the incident," the filing reads.
In a statement, Six Flags Over Texas president Steve Martindale offered condolences to the Esparza family and called her death "a tragic accident."
"The safety of our guests and employees is our company’s absolute highest priority, and we try to take every reasonable precaution to eliminate the risk of accidents," Martindale said.
The case is slated for a jury trial in Tarrant County.