It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, taking their family out for a day of fun at the water park, only for it to end in the death of their child. Unfortunately, this was a reality for Kansas State Representative, Scott Schwab. Last summer on August 10, Schwab and his family visited the Schlitterbahn Water Park for a day of fun when their 10-year-old son, Caleb, decided to ride the Verrückt, “German for crazy or insane.” It’s known as the world’s tallest water slide, and after only moments on the ride, Caleb was tragically killed in an accident.
Fortunately, a settlement has been reached between the Schwab family and the owner of the water park. However, according to the family’s attorney, Michael Rader, “the Schwab family remains determined to hold all those responsible for this tragedy accountable while doing all they can to ensure this never happens again to another family.” He added that the specifics regarding the settlement will be released later down the road.
The settlement involves “two Schlitterbahn entities and the manufacturer of the raft” Caleb was riding in at the time of his death, and came about when the family decided to file a petition with “Johnson County District Court asking the court to approve a wrongful death settlement with the owners and operators of the park and also with the manufacturer of the raft he was riding at the time of the incident.” It was later approved by District Judge Thomas Sutherland.
But what about the water slide that Caleb was riding at the time of the accident? Well, park officials recently announced that it will be torn down. In fact, in a statement released last October, park officials said “once the investigation is concluded and we are given permission by the court, Verrückt will be decommissioned — closed permanently and the slide removed from the tower. In our opinion, it is the only proper course of action following this tragedy.” Confirmed by the Guinness World Records as the tallest water slide in the world, it “dropped riders 169 feet at 65 mph.”
As for the investigation itself, it’s been completed by Kansas City police and “submitted to the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office.” For now, the family is attempting to move forward as best as they can. For Rep. Schwab, that means being sworn into the Kansas legislature where he took the time to tell his “fellow politicians that he’s learned that there are more important things than what happens in the legislature.” After being sworn in as the Kansas House leader, he told those around him, “when your bill dies, or your amendment fails … let it go. Life isn’t worth wasting too much emotional energy on such things. I just want you to know, it could get worse.”