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Schlitterbahn 'shocked' at allegations; promises vigorous defense

Posted: 4:53 PM, Mar 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-26 17:55:58-04
Schlitterbahn 'shocked' at allegations; promises vigorous defense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Three days after a Wyandotte County Grand Jury indicted a waterpark manager and the company , officials at Schlitterbahn released a new statement Monday promising a vigorous defense of the allegations.

In a lengthy statement – the third such statement since park operations manager Tyler A. Miles was indicted Friday morning – the company said they were “shocked” by the allegations.

“The allegation that we operated, and failed to maintain, a ride that could foreseeably cause such a tragic accident is beyond the pale of speculation,” the statement reads. “Many of us, and our children and grandchildren, have ridden the ride with complete confidence as to its safety.”

Both Miles and the company face several charges relating not only to the 2016 death of Caleb Schwab, but also the injuries of other riders of Verruckt, a now-closed waterslide at the Kansas City, Kan. waterpark while the ride was in operation.

Friday’s indictment outlined several allegations the company was not forthcoming with documents, hindering the investigation and in charges against Miles, attempted to cover up evidence.

"The accusation that we withheld information or altered evidence is completely false," the statement said. "We have operated with integrity from day one at the waterpark – as we do throughout our waterparks and resorts." 

Full Statement from Schlitterbahn:

We were shocked by the allegations being made by the Attorney General about Tyler and our KC park. The allegation that we operated, and failed to maintain, a ride that could foreseeably cause such a tragic accident is beyond the pale of speculation. Many of us, and our children and grandchildren, have ridden the ride with complete confidence as to its safety. Our operational mantra has been and will forever be Safety First. 

The accusation that we withheld information or altered evidence is completely false. We have operated with integrity from day one at the waterpark – as we do throughout our waterparks and resorts. We put our guests and employees safety first; and safety and maintenance are at the top of our list of priorities. 

Since the date of the incident we have worked closely with law enforcement; at no time have we withheld evidence; at no time have we altered evidence. The indictment uses quoted statements from a reality TV show that was scripted for dramatic effect that in no way reflects the design and construction of the ride. 

Quotes were purported to be from definitive design meetings, when they were, in fact, “acting.”
During the civil matter, attorneys involved noted that we cooperated fully, provided thousands of documents, and that nothing was withheld or tampered with. The secret Grand Jury never heard one word from us directly, nor were we allowed to provide contradictory evidence. And we have plenty.

In fact, the indictment presented is so full of false information that it has shocked the Kansas legal community, as you can see in the statement from Tyler Miles’ attorneys below.

Our legal team will be speaking out against each of the allegations point by point in the coming weeks and months. Rest assured, we stand behind our staff and all our parks. We will be fighting these charges aggressively. We know that Tyler is innocent and that we run a safe operation – our 40 years of entertaining millions of people speaks to that.

We look forward to proving this in court where we know the facts will prove this was an accident.

Tom and Tricia Bath, attorneys representing Miles, also released a statement Monday. Their statement was provided via a Schlitterbahn spokeswoman:

The suggestions that C.S.’s death was foreseeable to Tyler Miles, that, with this knowledge Tyler “avoided or delayed repairs,” and that Tyler “had covered up similar incidents” are simply not true. Not only had Tyler ridden the slide numerous times, but, as the State is aware, he had scheduled his wife, to ride it on the day of the accident. These are not the actions of someone who believed the ride to be dangerous.

The allegation that Tyler knowingly obstructed the investigation is, likewise, false.  From the moment of the accident, and continuing until the charges were filed, Tyler cooperated with law enforcement. He did not hide or destroy documents. 

The Constitution requires that an Indictment be based upon legal evidence- not speculation or conjecture. This Indictment is based upon Grand Jury proceedings, which are conducted in secret.

While neither we nor the public have had an opportunity to see transcripts of Grand Jury witness testimony, the Indictment is littered with references to evidence that is not legal. 

Only after Tyler is able to obtain transcripts, witness statements and police reports will he, like any citizen, be in a position to fully address these allegations. What we know is that Tyler is innocent, which is why he insisted, at his first court appearance, that we set the matter for jury trial. We look forward to the opportunity to challenge the evidence, in a public forum, and prove Tyler’s innocence.