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January 23, 2022

Paraplegic man sues Lagoon after foot ‘shredded’ on ride

Riders drop the first hill of the Wicked ride. The roller coaster uses both lap and leg restraints to secure passengers. (Lynn Arave, Deseret News)

FARMINGTON — A Salt Lake County man filed a lawsuit against Lagoon Amusement Park, alleging that his foot was injured on the Wicked roller coaster.

Matthew Christensen, who is a paraplegic, visited the amusement park with his family in October 2020. The lawsuit states that he navigated Lagoon in a wheelchair, and his family helped him onto the front row of the roller coaster, but the ride attendant in charge of securing his lap and leg restraints did not properly secure his right leg.

The ride in question launches riders to the top of a 110-foot tower at speeds of 55 miles per hour.

According to legal documents, Christensen did not notice the problem because of his paraplegia. His attorneys claim the improperly secured restraint caused serious injury as his car returned to the platform at the end of the ride.

“The forward movement of the car caused Matt’s foot to twist outward,” the suite alleges. “His foot was caught in the less-than-two-inch space between the stationary platform and the moving car. Matt’s foot was shredded.”

Christensen’s attorneys say that he suffered fractures in his leg, foot and toes, as well as “an irreparably shredded ligament in his big toe,” and are suing to refund medical costs and damages for the injuries.

A spokesman for Lagoon said officials continue to investigate what happened to cause Christensen’s injuries on Wicked, though, they are “unaware of any litigation” and have not yet been served any legal documents and so decline to comment.

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