The 10-year-old boy thrown from a carnival ride in Antioch remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery as officials say a full investigation is underway into the cause of the incident.
The Antioch Police Department and Antioch Fire Department responded around 2:40 p.m. Sunday to the area of Main Street and Orchard Street for a traumatic injury call.
A 10-year-old boy was injured while riding a carnival ride at the Antioch Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Antioch, village officials said.
Crews discovered a seriously injured 10-year-old child who appeared to have been thrown from the Moby Dick ride.
Fire department radio dispatch indicated the child was possibly thrown 10-12 feet.
A LifeNet medical helicopter was requested and landed nearby. The helicopter flew the child to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
The boy was later flown from Lutheran General to Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago for further treatment due to the extent of his injuries.
He suffered multiple facial and jaw fractures and a significant injury to the bones in one leg, village officials said.
The child was listed in critical condition as of Monday morning but he is expected to survive.
He underwent surgery to repair his injuries and is currently stable.
The village administrator, Antioch police chief and the Antioch fire chief were consulted and Antioch Mayor Scott Gartner used his executive authority to order the remainder of the rides at the Taste of Antioch to shut down immediately following the accident.
Antioch Police Chief Guttschow said the department is conducting its own investigation to determine if any criminally reckless or negligent acts may have been contributing factors to what occurred.
“We will be working with the Lake County States Attorney to determine if any criminal charges will be appropriate under these circumstances,” Guttschow said.
Mayor Scott Gartner and other representatives from the Village of Antioch will meet later Monday with representatives from the Antioch Chamber of Commerce.
The annual Taste of Summer carnival is organized and run exclusively by the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, village officials said.
The Chamber plans and organizes the event, including choosing the carnival ride operator.
“We plan to work with the Chamber of Commerce to identify exactly what led to this horrible accident and what we can do to work together to ensure nothing like this will happen again in our community,” Gartner said.
The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Division is responsible for the annual inspection and permitting of public rides, village officials said.
Rides that pass inspection, are insured and meet applicable safety standards are allowed to operate in Illinois, according to IDOL.
The ride involved in the incident, which was operated by All Around Amusement of Lockport, was inspected this year and issued a permit to operate, the labor department reported.
Officers secured the ride to “ensure no tampering occurred” and immediately requested a state inspector to the scene.
The inspector conducted an initial inspection of the ride and then issued a “stop order” on the Moby Dick ride to prohibit further operation of the ride until a comprehensive inspection can be conducted.
Village officials say IDOL will conduct what they call a “bolt by bolt” inspection of the ride prior to it being allowed to resume operation elsewhere.
The independent investigation to determine if the incident resulted from mechanical failure or operator error — or a combination — could take several months.
The Antioch Police Department said anyone who may have witnessed unsafe actions by carnival workers or equipment during the Taste of Summer should email Antioch police detectives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A fundraiser has collected over $13,000 for the family of Huntley, the child who was injured.
The boy’s uncle, Robert Pohlman, said the boy’s parents will be out of work for a while to be with him.
“He’s a strong kid. He once broke his arm and pushed the bone back in, on his own because ‘it didn’t hurt.’ Truly remarkable kid,” Pohlman said.