Victim of Horrific Coaster Incident Reaches Settlement in Lawsuit, Life-Altering Injuries Revealed

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A split image featuring the Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster at an amusement park on the left, and a silhouette of a person with a gavel against documents labeled "settlement" on the right.

Image Credit: Inside The Magic

The woman who was horrifically injured after a piece from one of the world’s tallest and fastest strata-coasters, Top Thrill Dragster, hit her in the end has reached a final settlement with Cedar Fair and Cedar Point.

The top hat of Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
Credit: Cedar Point

Woman Struck by Top Thrill Dragster Piece Reaches Settlement With Cedar Fair, Cedar Point

A resolution has been reached in the legal proceedings regarding an incident involving a woman severely injured at Cedar Point’s Top Thrill Dragster. Rachel Hawes, a Michigan resident, sustained injuries when a metal plate dislodged from a train on the ride and struck her head on August 15, 2021.

Hawes, her family, and Cedar Fair have collectively agreed to settle the matter, as confirmed in a joint statement provided by the Murray & Murray law firm and Cedar Fair. While the settlement terms remain confidential, the statement expresses gratitude for the support received by Hawes and acknowledges Cedar Fair’s cooperation throughout the process.

It also highlights Hawes’ ongoing need for medical care due to the severity of her injury. The investigation into the incident concluded it was an isolated occurrence, with Hawes being the sole individual injured. Originally, Cedar Fair announced the permanent closure of Top Thrill Dragster following the accident. However, a decision was made to renovate and reintroduce the attraction, now known as Top Thrill 2, for the upcoming season.

The top hat for Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster with yellow supports and red tracks peaks high against a clear blue sky, with a car filled with passengers descending rapidly.
Image Credit: Cedar Point

Rachel Hawes, a Michigan woman who sustained severe injuries after being struck in the head by a metal bracket that detached from a roller coaster at an Ohio amusement park, filed a lawsuit last summer against the park for negligence.

The lawsuit against Cedar Point Amusement Park was initiated nearly two years after the incident occurred. Hawes was waiting in line to ride the Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster, which at the time was one of the world’s tallest coasters, standing at over 400 feet high, when the metal bracket flew off and struck her head on August 15, 2021, ultimately requiring intensive care.

The lawsuit outlines that she suffered “permanent, disabling personal injuries, including skull fractures and traumatic brain injury.” Hawes, along with her father, who was present with her in line, and her husband, are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, accounting for approximately $13.2 million in losses and medical expenses.

Thrill-seekers experience an adrenaline rush on a roller coaster at Cedar Point as they plunge down a steep drop with a panoramic view of the amusement park and a scenic waterfront.
Image Credit: Cedar Point, Cedar Fair

Cedar Point’s iconic Top Thrill Dragster is undergoing a significant transformation, set to emerge as Top Thrill 2, a groundbreaking triple-launch roller coaster slated for debut in August 2023. With its grand opening scheduled for May 4, 2024, Top Thrill 2 is poised to claim the title of the world’s tallest and fastest triple-launch strata roller coaster. This strata coaster, along with the Millennium Force, makes Cedar Point the roller coaster capital of the world.

Boasting two towering 420-foot structures and reaching up to 120 miles per hour, this thrilling ride will span an impressive track length of 3,422 feet. The exhilarating journey begins with a first launch at 74 miles per hour, followed by a second launch at 101 miles per hour, culminating in a heart-pounding third launch at 120 miles per hour. Top Thrill 2 will introduce a new launch mechanism powered by Linear Synchronous Motors (LSMs), replacing the original hydraulic launch system.

Under the expert craftsmanship of Zamperla, the renovating manufacturer, the ride will retain its signature 420-foot hill while adding an equally imposing vertical spike at the opposite end of the track, with construction reaching its pinnacle in early December 2023. For rider safety, the ride will feature individual lap bars designed to securely fasten each rider across the thighs and pelvis, ensuring a safe and thrilling experience. However, it’s important to note that this ride may not accommodate guests of larger sizes, and riders must have three functioning extremities to participate.

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