Parents Sue Carnival Operator After Their 15-Month-Old Daughter Was Electrocuted

January 31, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018    

Parents of a toddler that was electrocuted at a carnival in Kansas are suing the carnival operator for wrongful death.

Shaun Bartonek and Rheannon Babcock, parents of 15-month-old Pressley Bartonek, are seeking over $25,000 in damages.

Pressley died in mid-May 2017, after she touched a metal fence set up around a bouncing castle that was a part of a carnival in Wichita.

The fence had 290 volts of electricity in it. A police investigation revealed the fence was touching the pole of an industrial light used to illuminate the bouncing castle. The base of the light was standing in water, KWCH reported.

The lawsuit states the light’s power cord was plugged into a power box, but its grounding prong had been cut off or broken off. The power box was not insulated.

Pressley wasn’t the only one shocked. A police lieutenant who arrived at the scene was shocked too when he grabbed the fence. He wasn’t badly hurt though.

A doctor found exit burn marks on Pressley’s left foot and notified police that emergency responders found a slight pulse “about an hour of Pressley having no oxygen to the brain.”

An autopsy on the toddler ruled the death an accident. The parents said in a statement they donated her organs for transplants.

In the lawsuit, the parents said that the carnival’s Missouri operator, Evans United Shows, showed “conscious disregard for the safety of the public,” according to The Wichita Eagle.

Towne West Square in Wichita, Kan., where Evans United Shows operated a carnival in May 2017. (Screenshot via Google Maps)

They accuse the carnival of “negligently and carelessly constructing the metal barrier gate so that it became electrified.”

The company has asked to have the case transferred to Sedgwick County because some key witnesses are in the Wichita area, it’s lawyer, Russ Hazlewood, said.

Joe Filoromo, head of Pennsylvania’s amusement ride safety program, said that because of Pressley’s death, he was instructing inspectors to make sure that electrical wires are kept away from fencing.

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