Entries in Cleveland Park (3)


Vigil Held for South Carolina Boy Killed in Amusement Park Crash

ABC News(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) -- A candlelight vigil was held in South Carolina Tuesday night to remember Benjamin Easler, the six-year-old boy who was killed in an accident at an amusement park a few days before.

Hundreds attended the memorial service in Spartanburg, including Rodney Morrison, one of the 18 people injured in the crash.

"I was only on the floor for like a minute or something," said Morrison, describing the accident.  "And I stood up and looked around and I saw people all over the place on the floor and stuff.  It was crazy."

On Saturday, Easler, Morrison and 26 other passengers -- ranging in age from three to 54 -- were aboard a children's train ride at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg when the train derailed and crashed.  Matt Conrad, the driver of the "Sparky" ride, later told police he had been driving too fast at the time of the accident.

Easler, who was visiting the amusement park with a group from Corinth Baptist Church, where his father is a pastor, was the only person killed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Driver of Deadly Children's Train Ride: I Was Going Too Fast

WLOS-TV Asheville, N.C.(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) -- The driver of a children's train ride told police he was driving too fast prior to Saturday's accident at a South Carolina park that left a six-year-old boy dead and sent 18 people to the hospital.

A child captured the fatal accident on video, recording the harrowing moments when the train, carrying 28 people, flew off the tracks. The video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was shot by a child on board the "Sparky" ride at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg, S.C., and shows the train speeding up moments before Saturday's accident.

"I was going too [expletive] fast," driver Matt Conrad told police, according to an incident report. Conrad told cops "he knew better than to drive the train that fast."

There were 28 passengers on the train when it derailed, including children and adults ranging between the ages of 3 to 54, according to police.

Benji Easler, 6, was visiting the park with a group from Corinth Baptist Church, where his father, Dwight Easler is pastor, when he was killed in the accident.

The train had operated at the park for more than 50 years and had run several test laps the morning of the accident. Meanwhile, a state inspector came forward Monday to admit that he had falsified the ride's latest safety report, saying he ran the train March 16 when it actually had a dead battery. The inspector was fired.

Police said Tuesday that they had not completed their investigation and had not concluded that Conrad's driving was to blame for the incident.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Six-Year-Old Killed in Miniature Train Accident

Thinkstock Images/Comstock(SPARTANBURG, S.C.) -- A six-year-old boy is dead, and at least 25 other people were injured following an accident involving a train at a park in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Saturday.

Officials say the accident occurred around 1 p.m. at Cleveland Park. The miniature train reportedly derailed and overturned near a bridge, ejecting riders in the process. According to reports, the crash happened during the train’s first hour of operation. Following the accident, six-year-old Benjamin Samuel Easler, a passenger on the train, was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he later died. Officials say at least 25 other people were taken to local hospitals for treatment to injuries sustained in the accident.

Officials say the train, which holds 30 passengers and has no seatbelts, was taken on test runs earlier in the day, and operators found no problems. On Sunday, investigators were still working to figure out what caused the accident.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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