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Boy Dies After Norridge Rollercoaster Accident

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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.

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