The death of a Bountiful girl Friday is apparently not the first related to Lagoon's wooden roller coaster.
At least two other people have died in roller coaster-related accidents at the amusement park. Ernest Henry Howe, 20, of Ogden, fell as he apparently attempted to stand in a car atop the coaster's first and tallest hill in 1934. James Young Hess, 23, of Farmington, died when he was struck by a car while working on scaffolding on the coaster in 1946.Howe struck several cross members of the coaster's trestle as he fell, Elaine Revell, a niece of the man and a resident of Bountiful, told the Deseret News. State death records say that Howe did die in a roller coaster accident on Aug. 20, 1934, according to John Brockert, state director of vital records and health statistics.
"That was news to us. We had no knowledge of it before now," said Dick Andrew, marketing manager at Lagoon, about the Howe accident.
Hess died at a Salt Lake hospital Sept. 1, 1946, after suffering skull, leg and arm fractures and internal injuries, a Deseret News account of the accident says.
Lagoon officials had said that the deaths of Ryan Beckstead, 6, of Bountiful, and Kilee King, 13, of Bountiful, were the first ride-related deaths in the amusement park's 102-year history. King was killed in an accident on the roller coaster Friday.
The present management took over park operation from the Bamberger family after World War II. That may explain why officials were not aware of the accidents, Andrew said.
The investigation into King's death by Farmington police detective Jeff Jacobson was continuing Tuesday.
The investigation is trying to determine why or how King stood up while riding in the lead car as it crested the coaster's second hill.Comment on this story
King fell from the car, striking the ground about 35 feet below the track. A paramedic at the scene said it appeared the girl suffered a broken neck, but the official cause of death will be determined by the state medical examiner's office.
A separate investigation being conducted by Lagoon's safety and security department has not been completed. The mechanical restraining bar was still locked when the car returned from the fatal ride, Andrew said.
The roller coaster will remain closed until the park's internal investigation is finished, he said.
"The mood in management here at the park is down right now," Andrew said. "We mourn for the person and her family, first and foremost. These are hard times for lots of people."