Designer of Deadly Water Slide Arrested in Dallas

DALLAS (CN) — The designer of the world’s tallest water slide, which decapitated a 10-year-old boy in 2016, was arrested Monday night in Dallas.

John Schooley, 72, was arrested by federal marshals at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport after he arrived on a flight from China.

Schooley was charged last week with second-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated endangering of a child. Also charged were the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, home to the water slide; Tyler Miles, the park’s former operations director; and Schlitterbahn’s co-owner Jeffrey Henry.

Ten-year-old Caleb Schwab died on the water slide in August 2016.

The grand jury indictment claims that Schooley had no education in engineering and lacked the qualifications to build the Verruckt waterslide, billed as the tallest in the world, on which riders could reach speeds of up to 70 mph.

Schooley’s attorney J. Justin Johnston told ABC News last week that his client was out of the country on a business trip and would to return to the United States to face the charges.

“He is working with counsel to coordinate his prompt return to the United States,” Johnston said. “Mr. Schooley intends to voluntarily surrender and defend the charges against him.”

The waterslide opened in 2014, and has been closed since Schwab died.

Schwab’s family settled with the water park and construction companies for almost $20 million. The boy was killed when his raft flew into the air and he struck an overhead loop.

The water park said in a statement last week that the allegations are false and that it takes safety seriously.

“Every attraction, from kiddie elements to uphill water coasters, undergoes a thorough internal inspection as well as an independent third party inspection by a professional engineer prior to the start of each season,” the water park said. “In addition, inspections are also conducted annually by our insurance provider. Parks are inspected in several areas by local municipal inspections such as food safety and water quality.”

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, 12 deaths have been recorded at water parks since 2010 and almost 40,000 patrons visited emergency rooms in 2016.

Schooley will be held in Dallas pending arraignment and removal to Kansas.

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