Boy Dies After Norridge Rollercoaster Accident

Updated 2:43 p.m. 4/3/11

NORRIDGE, Ill. (STMW) – A three-year-old Dolton boy was dead on the scene Saturday night when he fell from a children’s roller coaster and was struck by it at a family entertainment center in northwest suburban Norridge.

At 7 p.m., Norridge police received numerous 911 calls that a three-year-old boy had fallen from a roller coaster at the indoor family entertainment center, Go Bananas, at 4516 N. Harlem Ave., Norridge police chief James Jobe said.

Jayson Dansby, 3, was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

An autopsy Sunday determined Jayson died of multiple injuries, when he was struck by a roller coaster car and when he fell from the roller coaster, according to the medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.

“It’s just a very sad tragedy,’’ said Go Bananas owner Jerrold Marks, who was reached by telephone late Sunday morning. My heart goes out to the family,’’ said “I can’t imagine what they are going through.’’

Go Bananas was “packed” with weekend patrons and Jayson and his twin brother were out that night with their parents. The boys were riding the “very small” Python Pit roller coaster when Jayson somehow freed himself from the safety bar and became wedged between two of the cars, Jobe said.

Jayson then fell about 3 or 4 feet from the moving roller coaster.

“For some reason, he crawled out from underneath the safety bar and he fell and died from head injuries,’’ the chief said.

The ride is in an area that is “walled-off” from the rest of the business and the building is divided into several sections.

“It’s dark but it’s not pitch dark. It’s darker than the rest of the rides,’’ said Jobe.

“Part of the ride goes behind another wall and that’s where he fell.’’ The highest off the ground the roller coaster goes is about eight feet.

Children stand in a line and then go through a “curtained-area” to board the Python Pit, Jobe said. All rides at Go Bananas are for children and they also have skee ball and video games.
Jobe said no other injuries or similar incidents have occurred at Go Bananas since it has been in business.

Marks said he was not there last night when the incident occurred but was called. He said he has owned the business for six years, and does not own any other similar establishments.

Marks declined to say how the incident could have happened, saying he would leave it up to the proper authorities who are in a “better position’’ to answer those questions.

“We are going to cooperate 100% through the investigation,’’ Marks said.

Jobe said Saturday night, a state inspector got to the scene and issued a certificate saying it cannot be used. More inspectors will be on the scene Sunday to perform a more thorough investigation and the Python Pit will not be allowed to operate again until it has passed all tests, Jobe said.

Height requirements, which it is believed that the boy met, were posted near the front of the establishment.

“It’s truly an awful tragedy,’’ Jobe said.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Arjay

    Height requirements? Really? Regardless of how “tall” a 3 year old is, he is still a 3 year old. I can’t believe that any establishment can allow a 3 year old on a roller coaster without an adult no matter how tame that ride may seem.An avoidable tragedy in my opinion. His family shouldn’t have to suffer such a tragic loss for someone else’s poor judgement.

    • Jacob

      Hold on if I’m not mistaken his parents let him on the ride. His parents made a poor decision to let him ride it. You cannot blame the company for the PARENTS poor judgement. If I’m not mistaken height restrictions are the standard for all theme park rides, how is the theme park meant to regulate ages, there is no identification mediums (drivers license ect) for young persons therefore height is the only directory. I’m sorry but you’re most certainly wrong about placing the blame on the establishment. However it was an avoidable tradgedy, perhaps if that boys parents educated their son as to proper rollercoaster participation… ie don’t get out of the car and it’s safety measures. It’s common sense, that the boy and his parents obviously didn’t have. There is a reason stupid people die: to preserve the species integrity and prevent it being populated with idiots.

  • David Charles

    I bet his parents were the ones that made the choice to put the 3 year old on a rollercoaester. you cant blame the park for parents stupid choices.



    • d kraebel

      Guess what you heartless idiots – some rollercoasters are made fore kids – hence parents cant get on them! How sick are you to criticize parents who just lost their baby boy!? Do you even know what you are talking about when you say the parent should have gone on? Have you even been to a childrens amusement park? THis was an accident. No one should say anything other than God be with that family.

      • KCForce

        @ dk kraebel – I’m 6’5″ and have been on this coaster. They allow parents to ride with their children for free. So, they could have rode with their child. It’s a tragedy. There are over a dozen of these exact same models all over. First time I’ve heard of a child dying from injuries. Regardless of who is at fault, I feel bad for everyone involved.

  • CZ

    The Python Pit is a roller coaster for little kids. Quit being so judgmental.

    Here are some pictures of it:


    ok now I”ve seen the pictures & here”s my comment,,, there should always be someone riding in the coaster with kids under 6, reason is kids under 6 will always do something to aggitate any situation… U need someone who can control that aggitation at all times— poor judgement on all parties!!! cmon people we see kids everyday & we act like they are obedient dogs, WHEN THEY’RE JUST INNOCENT LITTLE ” I WANNA DO MY OWN THING KIDS “… SORRY FOR THE LOST BUT WE HAFTA KNOW BETTER.

  • Apiedapie

    @CZ, well these pictures put things in perspective! Still a horrible accident.

  • common sense!

    I don’t have children but I think I would’ve had better judgement than to let my 3 y/o on a ride BY THEMSELVES! Common sense people!

    • Tanya Livingston

      I have a six year old child and I let her drive. Some children are very mature, especially with the educational reforms with President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind.” My child tests real well.

  • don't be so quick to judge

    You can’t blame neither the parents nor the opertaor for this incident. it was a three year old child, and you will never know what went on in his head at that time as to why he somehow managed to free himself from the safety bar. It is not the parents fault for poor judgement because I am pretty sure they felt confident that nothing would go wrong, as well as the operator, they know the requirements and it is even mentioned that requirements were met. Also add the fact that his brother was right next to him at the time and he is safe nor did anything happen to him. You cannot blame any part of this accident on poor judgement on ANYONE’S part, it is what it is, a tragic accident.

  • Chris

    WHY did the builders of this roller coaster not put safety harnesses in place tht children CANNOT get out of?! Um… kids do these things – escape I mean. I blame whomever designed the roller question. Sad, horrible tragedy. :(

  • mmontague

    This a terrible thing to happen, but notice in pictures that there is an adult with a small child. Poor judgement on the parents part and they will have to live with that. Mt feeings of grief go with the poor baby who had to die.

    • dkraebel

      Your right there’s an adult on that roller coaster and at least you grieve for the boy. But, saying the parents used poor judgement is really off base especially condsidering 3 year olds go on that coaster just about all day every day without a parent. Its supposed to be for kids! Those parents judgement wasnt so poor that they should have lost their child.

  • Joe Patroni

    There is clear negligence upon the operator or owner of the equioment. Even forseeable mis-use in compensable. This case will settle for either the policy limits or $2.0 Million in a wronguful death action.

  • dumas

    Oh yeah? Well they made the conscience choice of letting the 3 year old Go Bananas!

  • High Stick Sends Lightning’s Lecavalier Out With Facial Cut « CBS Chicago

    […] Boy Dies After Norridge Rollercoaster Accident A three-year-old Dolton boy was dead on the scene Saturday night when he fell from a children’s roller coaster and was struck by it at a family entertainment center in northwest suburban Norridge. […]

  • Desiree

    What a terrible tragedy, his parents thought it was safe.
    And it is the family who has lost their baby.
    Do not judge too hard, this is the fear of every parent.
    Dear family, condolences to the loss of your son.
    Lots of strength required of someone from the Netherlands

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  • Attorney Concerned After Amusement Center Accident « CBS Chicago

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  • Beckie

    He fell from the roller coaster? Wow, how could he have fallen. Where are the seat belts, and the top bar that is supposed to hold him down in his seat.
    Parents, please check the mechanics of this roller coaster if they are safe enough to send you child into this dangerous scenes where children are falling to their deaths and many more are in danger.
    Property owners make sure this machines are well oiled and the mechanic is on dutu at all times when children are riding them.
    My deep condences to the parents who lost such a wonderful child. May be his future was to be a doctor or even a president.
    May God give you peace in your heart to know that the child is in heaven above looking for us to go up there and stay with them forever.

  • Kelli

    The little boy was probably scared on the ride and wanted to get off. I would not let my 4 yr old ride that ride alone but all kids and situations are different. Regardless of shoulda woulda coulda’s, the fact is a little boy died. I am almost positive EVERYONE involved feels absolutely terrible. Hindsight is always 20/20. Noone is to blame here. It was a terrible tragedy that should not have happened and my heart goes out to the family.

  • Tony Perkins

    Adults CAN go on this coaster. I have little kids and put them on kiddie coasters but my wife always goes with them and sits behind them. Those lap bars are only meant to prevent someone from standing, and little kids can wiggle out of them. If you have a precocious child then you should go on the ride with them, or not let them on at all. This is common sense, which is unfortunately lacking in many parents today.

  • michelle

    I rode this roller coaster at this facility 2 years ago with my children who were then 4,6, and 8. this roller coaster is a kiddie roller coaster but is fast and pretty twisty curvey and has a steep incline. no blame given, but just take responsibility where it’s due. I myself, would not have put my 3 year old on this ride by himself. who’s fault it is, who knows. it’s not the roller coaster companys.

  • dave

    I have a twin bro, this one hurts…

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    […] Jayson then fell about 3 or 4 feet from the moving roller coaster and was also struck by a roller co… […]

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