The co-owner of Schlitterbahn Waterpark, Jeffrey Henry, has been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, who was killed in 2016 while riding the park's Verruckt water slide. John Schooley, one of the ride's designers, has also been arrested.
On Friday, the park's director of operations, Tyler Austin Miles, surrendered himself to authorities after being indicted on 20 felony charges involving the safety failures of the ride known as the world's tallest water slide. Schlitterbahn Waterpark is located in Kansas City, Kansas.
Caleb was decapitated when the raft he was riding with two adult women went airborne and hit an overhead netting system that contained rails. He was at the park on a day when legislators and their families received free admission. His father is Kansas Republican state Rep. Scott Schwab.
The latest indictment states that due to its known propensity "for going abnormally fast and going airborne more frequently than other rafts," the raft Caleb had been riding the day of his death had already been pulled out of circulation twice in 2016.
Friday's indictment further states that the ride's design "violated nearly all aspects of the longstanding industry safety standards...in fact, the design and operation of the Verruckt complied with few, if any, of the industry safety standards."
One indictment says that "not a single engineer was directly involved in Verruckt's dynamic engineering or slide path design." Another thirteen injuries are documented during the 182 days the ride operated, including two concussions and one case where a 15-year-old girl experienced temporary blindness.
Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio defended the operation in an emailed statement, saying, "We as a company and as a family will fight these allegations and have confidence that once the facts are presented it will be clear that what happened on the ride was an unforeseeable accident."
Caleb Schwab's family received roughly $20 million in settlements reached with the waterpark and other firms involved with the ride's construction. Through their attorneys on Monday, the family released a statement: "Clearly the issues with Schlitterbahn go far beyond Caleb's incident, and we know the attorney general will take appropriate steps in the interest of public safety."