Other Orbiter rider disagrees with official accident report

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October 31, 2006

More news in the story of 13-year-old Desire Northington.

She's in critical condition after being thrown out of a ride at the Georgia-Carolina State Fair last Thursday.

The accident report released late this afternoon says the young teen's accident happened because she panicked.

News 12 spoke with one neighbor who was on the ride with Desire the night of the accident...and she's got a very different view.

As Desire's friends and neighbors headed out for trick-or-treating, they looked next door and were reminded that their friend wasn't with them.

"We miss her! And we hope she gets better!" said Demontrez Foulks.

That fateful night is fresh on their minds.

"I was on the same ride with her, and all I seen is her little body flying through the air," said 17 year old Ieesha Washington, who lives near Desire. Ieesha was on the same ride--the Orbiter---as Desire and Desire's cousin when the 13-year-old was thrown 60 feet in the air.

The accident report released five days later says it all happened because desire panicked.

"I heard them yelling for help, and the other little girl was holding onto her, and they were trying to get the man who operates the machine's attention," Ieesha told News 12. "And now they are trying to say it's her fault? I don't think it was her fault."

But the Georgia Department of Labor, the state agency investigating, disagrees. In the official findings, the report concludes:

The girl did panic and managed to maneuver herself into a position to attempt going underneath the lap bar before the ride reached full speed.

The report also says the emergency stop switch was pushed...but it takes 25 seconds for the ride to come to a complete stop.

Ieesha doesn't buy the report's explanation.

"Why would she get on the ride and then try to wiggle out? If she want to get out all she had to do was just ask," she said.

And as Desire's friends try to enjoy Halloween, their friend wasn't far from their hearts.

"At school we are cutting out the articles from the paper and putting them on our shirts because we miss her," said Demontrez. "The article says through God's grace the prayers have been working to bring Desire back. So we just going to keep praying till she gets out of the hospital."

Desire's family told News 12 she's still in critical condition.

A prayer vigil for Desire will be held tomorrow night at the Richmond County Law Enforcement Center at 8 p.m.

The family hasn't yet had a chance to see the report. They are very interested in it, but Desire's mother said she would wait to see it because she didn't want to leave her daughter's side.