Theme Park Attack: Guest Gets Violent, Draws Blood Over Height Restrictions

in Theme Parks

A group of people, including a man in a blue plaid shirt and a young girl in a yellow shirt, enjoy a thrilling ride on the Woodstock Express roller coaster at Carowinds Theme Park. They look excited and joyful as the coaster descends a hill under a clear blue sky.

Credit: Carowinds

A guest has been arrested after lashing out over height restrictions at the theme park.

Whether it’s Disney World or Six Flags, rules exist for a reason in theme parks. The majority of these are related to the safety of both guests and theme park workers – which is why parks tend to crack down so hard when they’re broken.

A bustling crowd walks down Main Street towards a castle at a theme park. The street is lined with shops and decorated with orange pumpkins and fall-themed decorations, while the sky overhead is overcast. The castle stands large and iconic in the background.
Credit: Nicholas Fuentes, Unsplash

In the past, Inside the Magic has reported on guests being removed from theme parks for everything from streaking (on “it’s a small world,” nonetheless) to theft and violent behavior. Some of these incidents are far more dramatic than others, with only a few requiring the involvement of the actual police.

Earlier this month, however, police were very much needed when one guest decided they were above one of the most basic theme park rules: height restrictions.

The entrance to Carowinds
Credit: Carowinds

According to Fort Mill Sun, 28-year-old Jalen Cohen became violent at North Carolina theme park Carowinds after he was told that his son was too short to ride the Woodstock Express roller coaster in Camp Snoopy.

A report from the York County Sheriff’s Office claims that “Jalen was upset that his child was allowed to ride the ride earlier in the day but when the child was rechecked for his size later on,​ he wasn’t tall enough.”

The report goes on to add that he “became irate and made blanket threatening statements to all the employees working the ride. ​Jalen ​began to complain that he wanted his money back from the park for his child not being able to ride the ride.”

A group of people ride a roller coaster up a steep incline on a blue-painted wooden track at the theme park. The riders are seated in several rows, some wearing orange and pink shirts. The background shows trees and more of the roller coaster structure towering above, emphasizing the thrilling height restrictions.
Credit: Carowinds

It was at this point that the park got local law enforcement involved. ​Detective David Beard arrived on the scene, where park supervisor Michael Parsons insisted that they wanted to press charges as well as demanding that Cohen leave the park. When Cohen was asked to walk with Parsons out of the park, he refused and said: “Get your hands off me,​ I ain’t a dog.”

Cohen then kicked the officer in the leg multiple times. He was then detained, but smashed Beard’s watch in the process. Other police officers later arrived to escort Cohen through the back of the park and into a patrol car.

He also reportedly managed to draw blood, with Beard treated by a Carowinds nurse for bloody knees and elbows and a few minor cuts, Cohen was charged with assault and battery in the third degree, resisting arrest – beat or wound police officer, ​and malicious injury to personal property. He was later released on bond.

A lively theme park scene features a water fountain with large statues of characters in green hats mounted on a rocky base. Trees and people enjoying outdoor activities are in the background, and a character's flag waves from the statue. Benches, strollers, and height restrictions signs are in view.
Credit: Carowinds

Woodstock Express is described as “pint-sized” by Carowinds, but promises to “turn all kiddos into roller coaster enthusiasts for life” – if they’re tall enough to meet the minimum height requirement of 46″ to ride alone, or 40″ to ride with an accompanying adult.

Despite the fact they exist purely to keep riders safe, guests have lashed out over height restrictions at other theme parks in the past. A drunk guest previously got aggressive with a Six Flags New England employee when their child wasn’t allowed on The Riddler Revenge, while another threatened and filmed cast members trying to enforce height restrictions at Disneyland.

Height restrictions aside, Carowinds has experienced its fair share of drama over the past year. In June 2023, the park was forced to temporarily close its Fury 325 after a guest noticed a massive crack in a steel support pillar. It was later determined that the crack was “the result of unidirectional bending fatigue,” with it reopening in top condition two months later.

Have you ever witnessed a dramatic incident at a theme park? Let us know in the comments!

Be the first to comment!