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Death at the Rodeo Carnival

Photo of Brant Stogner

On the last day of this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Brian Greenhouse (47) fell twenty-eight feet to his death from the "Hi-Miler" roller coaster. According Leroy Shafer, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo event CEO, this was the first fatality at the carnival in at least forty years. So what happened?

Safety consultants from Coulter and Associates "have inspected and reinspected this ride and they can find no mechanical malfunction," according to Shafer. He added that the safety bar and lap strap on the ride were in place when the ride ended. In fact, at this time, nobody knows how the incident happened. There is not a single witness that saw the incident, and the coaster operator even claims to have missed the fall. Industry standards, however, require the rides to be monitored from start to finish. "The operator of that ride is mandated to view the entire course of the ride, either with their eyes, with another person, or some type of monitoring system," according to Ken Martin, a Richmond, Virginia-based safety consultant specializing in amusement rides.

Greenhouse was sitting in the first car of the coaster when he fell. His fiancée was sitting two cars behind him. The two passengers that were seated behind Greenhouse left immediately after the ride finished without giving a statement. Recently, a wrongful death suit has been filed by the family against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Ray Cammack Shows, Inc., which has contracted to run the carnival for the past twelve years.

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