Police have executed a search warrant and seized a carnival ride as part of a criminal investigation after a child was thrown from the ride and critically injured in Antioch.
The Antioch Police Department announced Wednesday evening they obtained a search warrant and secured possession of the Moby Dick ride, which was at the Taste of Antioch.
“This is part of the department’s ongoing criminal investigation into the incident,” the department said.
The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) concluded its follow-up inspection of the Moby Dick ride, which is owned and has been operated by All Around Amusement of Lockport.
IDOL worked with Antioch police detectives throughout the inspection.
Following the inspection, Antioch Police Chief Geoffrey Guttschow said he directed detectives to work with the Lake County States Attorney’s Office to immediately apply for a search warrant to secure possession of the ride as part of the “ongoing criminal investigation into the incident.”
The IDOL inspections began Sunday afternoon in Antioch, hours after the incident.
All Around Amusement moved the ride on Monday from Antioch to a storage facility in south suburban Shorewood where the inspection process by IDOL continued.
The search warrant was authorized by a Lake County judge which allowed detectives to seize the ride.
The police department is overseeing the ride’s transport from Shorewood back to Antioch.
Guttschow said the criminal investigation into the accident is still active and ongoing.
“Our detectives have been working along with inspectors from the Illinois Department of Labor to determine if any criminally reckless or negligent acts may have contributed to the accident,” Guttschow said.
“The outcome of this week’s inspections of the ride necessitated us to immediately secure it as evidence as part of the criminal investigation,” he added.
The accident involving the Moby Dick ride occurred around 2:40 p.m. Sunday near Main Street and Orchard Street in Antioch.
A 10-year-old boy was seriously injured after he was thrown from the ride.
Fire department radio dispatch indicated the child was possibly thrown 10-12 feet.
A LifeNet medical helicopter landed nearby and 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 is expected to survive. Police said Wednesday they would not provide further updates on the boy’s condition in the interest of privacy.
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.
The child’s mother, Kayte Daniels, said late Monday evening that her son Huntley had undergone major surgeries and was stabilized.
“We got him all rested up and he is finally able to get some rest. This will be a long road to recovery! Huntley is so strong!” Daniels said.
“We appreciate all the love and support, the prayers & donations from every single one of you! The Antioch community, my family and my dearest friends [love] from the bottom of our hearts we are sooo greatful! This has been very traumatic for me and my family,” she added.
Mayor Scott Gartner and other representatives from the Village of Antioch met 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 was inspected this year and issued a permit to operate, the labor department reported.
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 email@example.com.
A fundraiser has collected over $35,000 for the family of Huntley as of Wednesday.
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.