KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A man and Schlitterbahn Waterpark have both been charged in connection to the 2016 death of Caleb Schwab on the Verruckt Waterslide.
Tyler A. Miles, 29, and Schlitterbahn Waterpark face several criminal counts, including felony involuntary manslaughter, 12 counts of aggravated battery and five counts of aggravated child endangerment.
Miles was also charged with two counts of interfering with law enforcement.
A release from the Kansas Attorney General's office Friday afternoon announced the charges.
Miles was the assistant park manager and director of operations at the time of Schwab's death.
Miles turned himself in Friday. At this time no other employees are charged in this case.
At a court hearing Friday, Miles pleaded not guilty. An attorney representing Miles argued that his bond, initially set at $50,000, be reduced because he had voluntarily turned himself in and because he didn't design the water slide.
They attorney continued that Miles rode the ride numerous times as an employee and as such, the bond should be reduced to $15,000.
A judge ruled against the attorney and kept the bond at $50,000.
Attorneys for Miles say that on the same day as Caleb’s death, Miles and attorneys representing the waterpark were served with two search warrants for paper files and any other documents.
According to court documents filed by the defense, Miles was interviewed by Kansas City, Kan. Police in their investigation and continued to work for the waterpark in the aftermath of the incident.
In late 2017, with the investigation underway by the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, Miles was interviewed again. An attorney representing Miles at that time was told Miles had become a “target” in the investigation due to his being a person in charge of the waterpark at the time of the incident.
Miles left the waterpark last fall and moved to Tennessee.
A scheduling conference has been set for April 25. The judge set a trial date for Sept. 10.
In a statement to 41 Action News, Schlitterbahn said their review of the incident did not show any evidence of criminal conduct:
We are deeply disappointed to learn that any individual is being personally charged for the terrible accident on Verruckt. Our review of the facts and circumstances of the accident has never shown any evidence of criminal conduct on the part of anyone. The safety of our guests and employees has been at the forefront of our culture throughout our 40 years of operations. Our families enjoy our waterparks and its rides and attractions. We have set the highest bar for safety in our industry.
Our staff, since we opened Schlitterbahn Kansas City, has demonstrated the highest dedication to safety, from the training of our lifeguards and ride operators, to ensuring all rides have operated in accordance with our strict protocols. Our team has been conscientious and committed to providing visitors to the waterpark a safe and enjoyable experience. We are shocked by any allegations of impropriety or negligence on the part of anyone associated with Verruckt.
Throughout his employment with us, our operations director, Tyler, demonstrated the highest dedication to safety, from the training of our lifeguards and ride operators, to ensuring all rides have operated in accordance with our strict protocols. He was conscientious and committed to providing visitors to the waterpark a safe and enjoyable experience. Tyler left us in September to accept great opportunity; we were sorry to see him go and wished him well. We stand by him and are shocked by these allegations.
Stay with 41 Action News for more on this developing story.