It was once the tallest roller coaster in the world. And some 19 years and a troubled past later, Cedar Point is retiring the famed Top Thrill Dragster.
State investigators spent five months looking into the cause of the accident. They found loose bolts, signs of wear, deformation, and impact marks on train cars and sections of track over the spot where a metal plate broke from the ride and fell.
The piece of metal described as about the size of "a man's hand" struck the woman Aug. 15, 2021. The accident left 44-year-old Michigan resident Rachel Hawes in intensive care with a brain injury, the family said in a statement after the accident.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture — charged with the inspection of amusement rides — found in its February report that Cedar Point had no knowledge that the ride was in an unsafe condition the day of the accident.
From the start, the coaster was plagued by issues that led to its frequent closings as the park grappled with its complicated and temperamental hydraulic system.
Riders were injured in a pair of previous mishaps on the coaster. In July 2004, four passengers were struck by flying debris from a frayed metal cable, and in 2016 two riders were injured when a launch cable detached from the coaster.