Mother of child injured at Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo sues ride vendor

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Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:36 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The mother of a toddler who suffered head and other injuries when he fell from a carnival ride at the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo last year is suing the midway ride vendor.

Candice Graham, the mother of the 2-year-old boy, is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Crabtree Amusements and its owner, Patrick Crabtree.

According to the lawsuit, the boy, identified in the lawsuit only as J.G., “was thrown from the carnival ride and sustained significant personal injuries and damages.”

An email message to Patrick Crabtree and Crabtree Amusements went unanswered Friday.

The lawsuit, filed in Waco’s 74th State District Court on the family’s behalf by Waco attorney Dominic Braus, alleges the boy was thrown from a ride called “The Quad” on Oct. 15, 2022, because the ride was being “maintained in an unreasonably dangerous, unsafe condition.”

Crabtree Amusements has run the midway section at the Heart O’ Texas Fair and Rodeo for a number of years. The fair was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The suit also claims the ride was being operated by a Crabtree employee “in an unreasonably dangerous, unsafe manner.”

Braus said the boy suffered a head injury, facial and knee abrasions, and bruising.

The suit claims Crabtree Amusements was negligent for failing to comply with policies, procedures and standards; by failing to properly maintain the carnival ride; by ignoring dangerous conditions; failing to properly inspect the rides; and by failing to ensure its employees complied with policies, procedures and standards.

The lawsuit also claims gross negligence on the part of Crabtree Amusements.

“At the time of the incident, defendants were acting or failing to act in a manner so reckless under the circumstances that they caused severe personal injuries to J.G.,” the suit alleges.

Crabtree’s conduct “constituted reckless and/or conscious indifference to the rights, safety and welfare of others,” according to the lawsuit.

“When we take our kids to go on the rides at the fair, we expect that the ride operator will do it safely. In this case, they were careless and it caused a two-year-old boy to fall off the ride and get hurt,” said Braus.