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July 13, 1999

Rider Alleges Injuries on Coaster at Six Flags Elitch Gardens

Denver, CO -- A lawsuit brought on by a women who claims to have been seriously injured on the Mind Eraser at Six Flags Elitch Gardens is slated to go to trial on July 26.

The lawsuit brought on by Deborah Lee Benagh alleges that the over-the-shoulder restraints (OTSR) failed to secure her and instead struck her in the head repeatedly during a ride on the roller coaster.

As a result of being struck in the head, Benagh claims that she is suffering from both short term and long term memory loss and has had to quit her sales job.

According to Benagh, the injuries occurred during her visit to the park on July 12, 1997.

In the lawsuit Benagh claims that Elitch's failed to warn customers of dangers that the park already knew about.

Injury reports obtained by Benagh's attorney indicate that she was among 22 people who were injured on the Mind Eraser during the 1997 season -- six of which were taken to local hospitals by ambulance.

Park officials have been quick to defend the coaster's safety record.

"The percentage of people that claim to have injured themselves is small, compared to the 2.5 million people who have ridden the ride and enjoyed it," said park spokeswoman Stephanie Goodell.

The Mind Eraser is a steel tracked, suspended looping roller coaster designed by Vekoma International. The coaster opened at Elitch Gardens in the 1997 season.