Father of teen who fell to death from FL ride retains attorney Ben Crump after vowing ‘never’ again

In the wake of his son’s untimely death at an amusement park, Yarnell Sampson appeared to be following through on his vow to prevent another such tragedy by hiring an infamous personal injury attorney.

“This should never happen to nobody else’s child ever again. And if I have something to do with it, it never will again,” the grieving father said.

Sampson and Nekia Dodd, mother to 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, who tragically fell from the ICON Park “Orlando FreeFall” ride, proceeded individually with retaining lawyers as the investigation continues. Sampson has retained Ben Crump to represent him and Dodd has sought counsel from Bob Hilliard of Hilliard Martinez Gonzales.

Before expressing his stance that this should “never happen” again, Sampson had raised concerns over the decision park attendants had made to permit his 6’5″ 340 pound son on the ride.

“This one particular ride said, ‘We can take you, come on! Get on!’ No one else allowed him to get on this ride, so I’m wondering what happened between now and then that made them say, ‘Come on, get this ride!” Sampson detailed.

The attorneys issued a joint statement on the matter where they recounted the details of the incident.


In the joint statement, Crump made clear that he and Hilliard would, “on behalf of both parents…get answers for Tyre’s grieving family.”

Hilliard indicated the responsibility that must be shouldered by ICON when he stated, “Families have a right to expect these national theme parks, making millions of dollars, will keep their children stay safe and will put safety above all else.”

He added his concern over the “unimaginable terror” Tyre must have gone through “as he slipped out of his unsecured harness and fell helplessly towards his own death?”

The investigation by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs will determine if there was any criminal negligence on the part of the park or attendants. However, Orange County Sheriff John Mina indicated that, though still early, they do not see signs of intent and “it appears to be a terrible tragedy.”

The retention of Crump and Hilliard suggests that no matter the findings, a lawsuit will be brought forth by Tyre Sampson’s family and U.S. Attorney Neama Rahmani believes it is a certainty.

Rahmani told Fox News Digital, “Absolutely, they’re going to be held liable. No question. Not only do they have a duty to make sure that the rides are safe, you’re talking about a minor, right? They have an absolute responsibility to make sure that their rides are safe. I mean, minors are riding that.”

He expressed that the park would assert the “weak argument” of assumption of risk from the riders stating, “The only possible defense would be some sort of contributory negligence or comparative negligence and assumption of the risk that this child knew the seatbelt was unsafe and chose to ride anyway. It’s a very weak argument, and it could easily inflame a jury. You’re talking about a child, right?”

“Liability is crystal clear, in my opinion,” Rahmani went on. “Damages are through the roof, I mean, what’s worse than losing a child under these circumstances and watching it happen, and have the whole world circulate videos of his death?”

“And then coverage,” Rahmani continued laying out points the attorneys are bound to include, “obviously theme parks have a lot of coverage and assets. It’s a very, very strong personal injury claim.”

Crump and Hilliard are both known for taking on cases that demand media attention. Most recently, Crump is in talks with the Department of Justice to find new charges against the officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor. Those officers have already been cleared of wrong doing.

As retired Sergeant John Mattingly put it, “Crump is very good at tying tragedies and injustices together to skew the narrative and hype up a crowd.”

Hilliard is best known for representing the family of Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca, a 15-year-old Mexican boy who was killed while still on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico Border in 2010 after being fired upon by Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa. Mesa reported that he only fired after being assaulted by thrown rocks and was twice cleared in the Fifth Circuit and the case was remanded by the Supreme Court.


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