LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A 14-year-old Louisville girl whose feet were severed during an amusement park ride last summer said the accident has changed her life forever and left her fearful.
"I won't be the person I was before. Because now, I'm scared of stuff," Kaitlyn Lasitter told a Washington D.C. news conference. "I fear for my life when I get in a car, fear for my life when I get on an elevator. ... In my mind, I'm not as carefree as a 14-year-old child should be. ... I got that taken away from me."
Cables on the Superman Tower of Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom snapped on June 21, shearing off Kaitlyn's legs. Doctors reattached Kaitlyn's right foot, but she had to have some of her left leg amputated and subsequent surgeries.
The girl and her family spoke Wednesday in support of a bill by U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., that would empower the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate permanent rides at amusement parks. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions opposes the bill.
Kaitlyn is being home-schooled this year. She said the accident has kept her from playing sports, sleeping and enjoying time out with her friends.
"I want to be a 14-year-old girl," Kaitlyn said. "We'll be out somewhere having fun and I'll say, 'Maybe, one day I won't go and have pain.' ... I get frequent headaches constantly, I get nauseous. ... I know eventually I'll get better and stuff, but I don't want to wait for eventually."
Carolyn McLean, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Kingdom, said in a statement that "our hearts go out to the Lasitters and we are working with the family to ensure that Kaitlyn is taken care of for the rest of her life. We deeply regret last year's tragedy and have improved our already-stringent safety procedures to make sure nothing like it can happen again."
A report on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's investigation into the accident is expected to be released in the coming days.
Lasitter's family is suing Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, claiming the park failed to maintain the ride and equipment and ensure riders' safety. In court filings, the amusement park has denied liability in the accident.