Fair tightens safety efforts in wake of accident - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Fair tightens safety efforts in wake of accident


Four year old Sheldon "S.J." Lewis remains in critical condition at LSU Hospital after being trapped underneath the Demolition Derby ride at the Louisiana State Fair.

The ride is still closed, but the rest of the rides at the fair are open. In response to the incident, fair and carnival officials say there are more supervisors patrolling to make sure the people working the rides follow all safety guidelines.

"I have a daughter that's four, the same age as the little boy, and we had already planned on coming out here today," says Jessica Brown. "It was definitely scary."

"No parent wants to ever hear anything like that before you take your kids to the fair the next day," adds Toney Charles.

Charles says he takes his own safety precautions to make sure his daughters are safe on the rides.

"We just make sure that when they get on, we put them on, we take them off. We buckle them up. That way we know they're safe."

Jessica Brown says she's being more cautious and keeping a closer eye on what's going on - "I wanted to come early so there wasn't very many other kids out here so I could watch a little bit better."

Chris Giordano, the State Fair's President and General Manager, says steps are being taken to make the fair safer.

"We've gotten with all staff members, all employees. The carnival has gotten with their employees and with their supervisors and reiterated safety so that we all have safety first on our mind."

The rides are run by Lowery Carnival Company Inc. out of Gulf Shores, Alabama. We asked one of the Lowery brothers how they've responded today. He couldn't talk on camera, but he told us they've put extra supervisors on the ground and told everyone that they've really got to watch the kids.

While witnesses say another little boy hit a button and started the ride, causing S.J. to get trapped, we still looked more into Lowery. Its website says certification and documentation of ultrasound and x-ray tests on its equipment are on file with an engineering firm in St. Louis, Missouri.

We checked with that firm and we're told it has not been affiliated with Lowery for 15 years, and has asked Lowery to remove any references to the firm from its website.

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