"This year been totally rough for me. Physically, mentally and spiritually," said Yarnell Sampson, one year after his son Tyre fell to his death from an amusement park ride in Orlando, Fla.
Tyre Sampson's father is working toward change a year after his 14-year-old son died on an amusement park ride in Florida.
After Tyre fell to his death from the Orlando FreeFall attraction at ICON Park last March, Yarnell Sampson announced plans to start scholarship opportunities with part of the settlement money his family is receiving, during an event Thursday at the site of the recently dismantled ride.
"We can send some young men to college to help better (themselves)," said Yarnell, according to video published by WKMG, noting that he got together with ICON and Slingshot Group, which owns the ride, to work together on dual scholarship opportunities.
Earlier this month, Tyre's mother Nekia Dodd announced that they reached an undisclosed settlement with ICON and Slingshot. Also included in their wrongful death lawsuit was ride manufacturer Fun Time Thrill Rides, as well as Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, which manufactured the seats and harnesses.
When announcing in October that the ride was being dismantled, a spokesperson for Slingshot said in a statement that they planned to "honor Tyre and his legacy in the classroom and on the football field" with a scholarship in his name.
At Friday's event, Yarnell also advocated for the passing of the Tyre Sampson Act, "to prevent this situation ever happening again to any child, any adult in this case," after Florida Senate Bill 902 was introduced in the state legislature this month to increase safety regulations on rides.
Yarnell said that since his son's death, he's "just being present in the community to let people know I'm here. Maybe they can learn from my testimony."
"This year been totally rough for me. Physically, mentally and spiritually," said Yarnell, adding: "I'm speaking up for the voiceless. I am my son's voice."
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The Missouri teen died when he fell from the 430-foot ride on March 24, 2022. An accident report released shortly after said that Tyre "came out" of his seat as the ride descended, although his "harness was still in a down and locked position when the ride stopped."
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