Tyre Sampson’s mother speaks out after family files lawsuit against several companies

ORLANDO, Fla. — For the very first time, we’re hearing from the mother of Tyre Sampson, who died on the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park.


ABC News got an exclusive interview with Nekia Dodd after she and her family filed a lawsuit against several companies on Monday.

“This could have been prevented. It could have been prevented — it should have been prevented,” Dodd said.

READ: Tyre Sampson’s mother: Death on FreeFall ‘could have been prevented’

Dodd made it clear that she wants justice for her son.

According to her lawsuit, the ride has height and weight limits, which her son exceeded, but the ride has no signage posted notifying riders of the restrictions.

The ride also doesn’t have safety belts, which the lawsuit said would have only cost $22 per chair, for a total of $660, to put on every chair on the ride.

READ: 9 things to know about the Orlando FreeFall at ICON Park

A state investigation discovered that before Sampson got on the ride, it was modified so the safety sensors would allow Sampson’s seat harness to indicate it was locked closed, when it was not. Thus leaving a 7-inch gap between the harness and the seat.

Dodd said the ride wasn’t safe to begin with, not just for her son, but for anyone to get on.

READ: Tyre Sampson death: Lawsuit claims that Orlando drop ride at ICON Park was ‘unreasonably dangerous’

“So as an operator, you have a job to check those rides, you know. The video I saw, that was not done. That was not done. So and if it was done, it shoulda been done more than once, you know.”

We know the family is seeking financial damages in the lawsuit, but it plans to leave it up to the jury to decide just how much.

READ: Investigators say Tyre Sampson’s restraint was modified to allow larger visitors on Orlando FreeFall

We also reached out to the ride operators and ICON Park for their take on the lawsuit. We are still waiting to hear back from them.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.