Woman in ICU with brain injury after metal from Top Thrill Dragster breaks off

Top Thrill Dragster ODA Accident Investigation
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 3:40 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A Michigan woman is in critical condition with a brain injury after she was hit in the head by a metal object that detached from a roller coaster at Cedar Point last week.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture gave an update Monday on the ongoing investigation into the incident.

According to ODA, 44-year-old Rachel Hawes was hospitalized after an “L-shaped” piece of metal disengaged from the Top Thrill Dragster, hitting her in the back of the head while she was in line for the roller coaster. Officials said Monday the piece of metal was approximately the size of an adult male’s hand.

ODA and Cedar Point have not given an update on the woman’s condition since the incident on Sunday, August but did say they spoke to the woman’s family ahead of the briefing. Hawes’ family members said she was still in an intensive care unit as of Monday for a brain injury from the incident.

“We are devastated by last weekend’s accident at Cedar Point,” a family spokesperson said. “We want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this time. Rachel is fighting for her life, and we would ask for privacy in this difficult time.”

Officials said they have recovered the bracket but are not sure what may have caused it to come off from the track. An inspection showed half of the bolts holding the metal plate in place were missing, according to ODA.

Following the incident, the ride inspector issued a verbal stop operation order on the Top Thrill Dragster.

BODY CAM: Watch the chaotic scene at Cedar Point after a woman was hit by a piece of metal that came off the Top Thrill Dragster on Sunday. WARNING: Some viewers may find this video disturbing. Read more >> https://bit.ly/3yQzzC9

Posted by 13abc on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

“We are terribly sorry for the woman and her family who endured this tragic event,” said David Miran, Chief of Amusement Ride Safety.

Officials said the last ODA inspection for Top Thrill Dragster was conducted on May 14. However, Cedar Point is in charge of executing “preopening inspections” for every ride on a daily basis.

Cedar Point announced last week the ride will be closed for the rest of the 2021 season. The investigation is ongoing.

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