Parks dept: SC train ride opened 1 week early

AP News
Posted: Mar 21, 2011 5:25 PM
Parks dept: SC train ride opened 1 week early

Officials say the children's train ride that crashed over the weekend, killing a 6-year-old boy, opened a week early to accommodate an early blast of spring weather.

Spartanburg Parks Commission spokeswoman Nisha (NEE'-sha) Patel told The Associated Press Monday that officials opted to open the nearly 60-year-old train March 19, a week ahead of schedule.

Six-year-old Benji Easler died Saturday when the train went off its rails. His parents, siblings and more than 20 others were injured.

State officials said Monday the inspector who OK'd the ride for operation was fired after admitting he falsified his report.

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation chief Catherine Templeton said the inspector could not have tested the Spartanburg ride because a battery in the train was dead, making it inoperable.