Six Flags Great America worker dies weeks after being hit by ride

Posted Friday, June 18, 2004 10:52 AM | Contributed by redman822

Jack E. Brouse, 52, was struck in the head by the Ragin' Cajun coaster at Six Flags Great America on May 29. He was doing routine maintenance on the ride at the time. He died Wednesday in the hospital.

Read more from The Chicago Tribune.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 12:22 AM
I know that Six Flags does have lock out procedures. I don't know how consistant they are from park to park. SFGAdv for example has many gates that are locked with signs say that lock out is required before opening the gate. I haven't noticed similar signs at other SF parks, but that may be because they rely more on training and less on signs. Each has it's own merits.

As for why we should try to prevent accidents, there are several reasons.

First, accidents are painful not only to the victim, but also to many others. Imagine the psychological trauma to the people in the first row of a train that hits a worker. Imagine the impact on the victim's family and coworkers. Those of you who have read Paula Werne's commentary on the impact of the fatality at Holiday World will have a good idea of how much such an incident can effect even park workers who didn't know the victim.

Second, accidents are expensive. The average cost to a business for an accidental death is about $5,000,000. The exact amount in a particular incident varies widely, but it's never cheap. It's not just law suits either. It is the obvious medical and burial expenses. It is the disruption to business, the loss of future business, the cost of investigation, the cost of mechanical repairs, and many other costs.

Finally, preventing accidents and keeping people alive is just plain the right thing to do.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 5:00 PM
I need not be expensive if common sense were applied. Of course you are correct that these accidents are expensive. However. The great majority of that $5 mil figure you claim is indeed legal fee related on the front and back end. The disruption in business,etc happens because of the legalities that would surly result if the park immediatley resumed operation of a ride after an accident. If society adopted actions and policies that were closer to my opinion of how things ought to be, then we assuredly would not be talking about $5 mil for a freaking accident. We’d all apply a little common sense that in most cases the individual involved screwed up, and no matter how tragic the result, we would not hold other people and businesses accountable for unnecessary expenses related to accidents that are of no fault to the said businesses. The vast majority of accidents are as a result of human error. Furthermore, the human error is almost always something that the person knows, or should have known, that they should not be doing in the first place.

"Finally, preventing accidents and keeping people alive is just plain the right thing to do."

This is your idealistic opinion and you have every right to it. I happen to think it is ridiculous that so much time, effort, and money has to be spent by legitimate businesses to protect people from themselves based upon “it is the right thing to do.” We’ve gone so far overboard on our attention to safety and protocol that I just do not believe the ends justify the cost. I realize that many will use the “how much is one life worth” argument, but I firmly stand by my assertion that as a society the USA is greatly over-regulated and we do not demand enough personal accountability, nor do we subscribe to the old theorem that accidents happen! When is enough enough?

Again I ask, is it reasonable that we place lockouts and fences around every road in America to prevent an idiot from running into the traffic? After all, using your logic, preventing this accident is the “right thing to do.” If we take your assertion to the logical conclusion, I guess the costs and efforts should not factor into the decision at all. We should spend the trillions it takes to idiot proof all the roads because this is the “right thing to do!?” I find it hard to believe that you cannot see that there has to be and should be a limit placed upon how much cost (in dollars) and human effort will be applied to protect people from themselves. I’m not sure where that line should be drawn, but for me, it certainly was well before we got anywhere near a $5 mil figure for an accident and we started feeling sympathy for a guy who sticks his head between the tracks of an operating coaster while working as a mechanic for the said coaster.

I guess I’m just a big meany that is not as kind-hearted as some. It is just not inside me to feel bad for people that do stupid stuff that gets themselves killed. In the Holliday World incident I felt terrible for the park. They did absolutely nothing wrong and had to endure the negative press that comes with these accidents. I feel bad for the family that lost a loved one. I certainly do not have any sympathy for the lady who fell to her death. She behaved like an idiot and suffered the consequence of her behaviors. Actions have consequences no matter how much we try to regulate behavior and pretend that this is not the case. Call me a big old ogre, but I’ll never waste a sympathetic emotion for those who behave recklessly and suffer tragedy because of their own reckless actions. In fact, it is just the opposite for me. I feel anger toward those that would act so foolishly and thus lead to a climate in which $5 mil is an accepted result. I refuse to accept that this is fair and correct. It is NOT!

The right thing to do is to accept that accidents can and will happen at a much higher percentage for those that do not utilize common sense. The right thing to do is to blame accident results on the BEHAVIORS that cause most accidents (I’m not talking about those rare obvious negligence cases here), not on some other person or business. The right thing to do is to promote a negative social stigma for those that behave like idiots so they are encouraged to stop their stupid behaviors and possibly prevent their own untimely death. The right thing to do is not support any ridiculous monetary punitive damages against businesses that are unlucky enough to have a fools-related accident take place on their premises. This includes burdening businesses with expensive and time-consuming regulations and equipment to ensure safety that should easily be controlled with common sense.

The solutions you provide only further encourage and establish that some other person or business is responsible foe reckless BEHAVIORS. I promote an opposite view that says the BEHAVIORS are the problem and the person committing the BEHAVIORS is responsible and nobody else. Anytime you call for further regulation and procedural safety implementation after a behavior related accident, you have reinforced a victim mentality that leads many to believe they are not responsible for their actions. In fact, your worldview pretty much promotes that it is everybody else’s responsibility to ensure the victim’s safety. I think this is wrong and indirectly leads to more people getting hurt and injured!


There’s the opposing view! To each his own! :-)

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004 4:40 PM
Obviously, you are totally callous with regards to both the victim and others effected by an accident. Ask Paula Werne at Holiday World just how bad the effect can be on others. Also, you have no understanding of the economic impact of a fatal accident on a business, even witout law suits.

The only thing I can agree with you on is that accidents will happen with a greater frequency to those who don't exercise good sense. The proper response to this is to either change their behaviour or fire them.

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Monday, April 18, 2005 11:48 AM
Only A six Flags Park!
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Friday, June 17, 2005 12:33 AM

First let me start by saying this. I am a friend of Jack Brouse's daughter, Jack being the victim in this tragic accident. And for those of you who do not know what happened let me explain it to you.

It was the opening day of this coaster. Jack was told to check out the breaks on this ride. They were not to start the ride until this was complete. Keep in mind, Jack was doing as he was told.

Imagine if you were the one who was told to do what he was in the middle of doing. And out of no where someone starts the ride. With no warning, no time to think or any time to react.

Now place yourself in his position, how do you think your family would react to the news of you being the injured person. Imagine the feeling of not knowing that the unthinkable happened to the person you cared about the most.

Now imagine how Jacks family felt. How devastated they were. They had no idea, in fact no one from the park had called any of his family members to notify them of the accident. I mean after all they had the number of his family. So why didn't someone call them? Sounds like quilt to me.

May I also add that there were younger children on the ride. Can you imagine how traumatic that must have been for not only Jack's family, but those unfortunate riders who had to bare witness to such a horrible accident. Imagine how that will impact them from then on.

My friend is devastated at the loss of her father, and here i am trying to help her cope on the one year anniversary of his death. And it hurts to see how much this hurts her. And i just came across this website. It hurts so much to see people how quickly people assumed it was Jacks fault. I mean, he was just trying to do his job, so he could take care of his family, and himself. I would like to thank all of you who showed compassion and sorrow for his family.

But for those of you that think he just wasn't paying attention. Come on, this isn't the first accident for Six Flags, but one of several. I mean I enjoyed going there years ago, but since i have heard of so many accidents they have had. Whether it be employee related or customer related. I don't have the same feeling, or respect, for that company any longer.

Until they improve safety conditions for workers I feel that thrill seekers should think twice before adventuring onto a roller coaster. I mean they should just do something as equally daring as sky diving without a parachute. I mean come on common sense.

I am not saying people should stop riding coasters because who doesn't like the thrill of a good roller coaster. But honestly, something needs to be done about this. These types of accidents are happening a lot, especially at this park. So why are they just getting the max fines, why aren't things getting done to prevent these accidents.

God forbid that next time something like were to ever happen, pray that it won't be someone you know and care about, or even more scary yourself.

~Anonymous~*** This post was edited by 6/17/2005 12:47:57 AM ***

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