The results of an investigation into a fatal amusement train accident in Spartanburg were released late Monday and the county coroner says the problem was how the train was operated. The train was going far too fast for conditions. Officials brought in a team of crash experts, including accident reconstruction analyst Dr. Charles Manning from Raleigh.
One child died and 28 adults and children were injured in the crash of an amusement train in the city’s Cleveland Park.
The one fatality was Benji Easler, the six-year-old son of Pastor Dwight Easler of Corinth Baptist Church in Gaffney.
“We just want to get it over with and we just want to move on. We kind of feel that this is the way we thought the investigation would go,” Easler told an SCRN reporter at Monday’s press conference.Manning and others who inspected the wreck say that they tested the brakes even after the accident and they worked well even then. Manning says they used a video shot by one of the passengers to determine that the train was going 22.3 mph when it rolled over and off of the tracks at a very tight turn. The train should have been going eight miles per hour at that point. When the train derailed, it threw passengers into a rocky creek bed.
Coroner Rusty Clevenger met with the county council today and says he is ready to turn the case over to the solicitor’s office. Who will prosecute will be determined. Spartanburg Prosecutor Barry Barnette excused himself from the case because one of his employees had two grandchildren on the train.