Monday, October 3, 2022

Jury trial set for injury case involving Apollo’s Chariot, emergency brake incident

Apollo's Chariot (WYDaily/Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg)
Apollo’s Chariot (WYDaily/Courtesy of Busch Gardens Williamsburg)

A trial date has been set in a lawsuit between a man allegedly injured on Apollo’s Chariot and Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Lance Tillman filed a civil lawsuit in the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court April 9, alleging an employee at Busch Gardens Williamsburg “negligently engaged the emergency brake” on Apollo’s Chariot while the train was going “full speed,” bringing it to a halt.

Tillman suffered “serious injuries” during the alleged incident July 15, 2018, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit does not specify the type of injuries Tillman suffered, but indicated they are permanent, prevent him from transacting his business and will cause him to give rise to additional medical bills in the future.

“Defendant, SeaWorld, by and through its agents and employees, was at all relevant times responsible for maintaining a safe environment for its invitees on and within the premises of Busch Gardens theme park … and responsible for the conduct and supervision of its agents and employees,” the lawsuit reads.

Tillman seeks $74,993 plus court costs. He has asked for a jury trial.

That’s set for June 4 and 5, 2020. The trial is estimated to take about two days. 

In a response filed May 1, SeaWorld denied “each and every” allegation in the lawsuit and said it denied injuries suffered by Tillman had anything to do with any act, omission or conduct by SeaWorld. 

Apollo’s Chariot, the ride where Tillman was allegedly injured, is also known for an incident involving Fabio Lanzoni and a goose on the coaster’s inaugural ride in 1999. Fabio, a famed model and romance novel staple, was in the front row of the ride between the coaster’s platform and peak when a Canada goose flew into the train’s path, colliding with Fabio’s face.

The goose died. Fabio survived.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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