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State inspector OK'd carnival ride

June 10, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART and LISA GRAYBEALs

The safety belt that had been around Corey Domer's waist was still hooked Monday night when the Scat came to a halt, moments after the teenager was ejected from the popular carnival ride, according to an owner of Winchester Amusement Inc.

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"That belt didn't come off," Bill Carter said on Tuesday.

Salvatore Sapienza, an inspector with the Maryland Department of Labor and Industry, confirmed that Tuesday.

"There were no deficiencies Monday morning and I looked at it again Tuesday morning and nothing seemed wrong. I'm in the dark," Sapienza said.

Sapienza said he had inspected the Scat and all of the other rides at the Longmeadow-Maugansville Fire Co. carnival Monday morning at the Long Meadow Shopping Center. He said he found all the rides to be operating properly.

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Domer was listed in fair condition at Washington County Hospital on Tuesday night.

Domer, 16, flew off the Scat ride and landed about 15 to 20 feet away on an aluminum awning on a trailer from which a dart game was conducted. The awning collapsed on impact.

Four people who were standing beneath the awning when Domer landed sustained minor neck and back injuries. They were treated at the hospital and released.

Steady rain on Tuesday night shut down all of the carnival rides and forced those who turned out for the carnival to huddle under umbrellas and tent overhangs.

Yellow police tape was still tied around the entrance gate to the Scat ride, which will remain closed for an undetermined time even though it does not appear to be defective, according to Hagerstown City Police.

The ride will not reopen until police, state inspectors, and insurance company representatives complete their investigations, said David Baer, a Maugansville firefighter and carnival chairman.

Carter said the Scat is a 25-year-old ride with a perfect safety record.

The ride seats 24 and an operator belts all riders in a standing position, Carter said.

Carter acknowledged that some riders buckle themselves in but said everyone is checked by the operator before the ride starts.

Another co-owner of the amusement company, Ronnie Hershberger, said his 82-year-old father, Joseph W. Hershberger, started the firm 38 years ago.

"We've always been very safety conscious," Hershberger said. "We have a good reputation."

There have been no accidents involving Winchester Amusement Co. in Maryland in at least the last 18 months, according to the Maryland Division of Labor and Industry.

The company had a fire in a ride motor last month in Winchester, Va., which is where they are based, according to the State of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Baer said the combined fire company carnival has been at the shopping center for the past 10 years.

This may be the last year the carnival will be held in the shopping center, which has a new owner. The decision hinges on whether a major supermarket moves into the shopping center in the next year, possibly causing parking concerns, Baer said.




related stories: Teen says she doesn't remember fall from ride

Teen falls from Hagerstown carnival ride; five injured

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