NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – New details have been released about the novelty train accident that injured several residents of a Hermitage senior living facility on May 14 that injured several elderly riders, including a 97-year-old woman.
The 21-year-old train operator was giving rides with a Husqvarna lawn mower that had been modified with a fiberglass shell to look like a train.
Attached to the train were three trailers, also made of fiberglass, that were attached to each other by a 1 7/8-inch ball.
While driving downhill, the driver attempted to brake to slow the ride, but but it instead gained speed until the last two cars became unstable and overturned, ejecting the passengers.
“The driver of the train is very upset and very concerned about the passengers. He said they test drove the train earlier and everything appeared to be working properly,” Metro police officer Greg Curtis said on the day of the accident. “The driver said that he applied the brakes. Either the brakes were not working, or [they] were ineffective, and he lost control of the train.”
Eight passengers were on the fair-like train when the accident occurred. Seven were transported to area hospitals for injuries and the eighth refused treatment. The victims ranged in age between 74 and 97.
The accident remains under investigation and investigators are working to determine how much weight the ride could carry at a time.
“The number of people over there [on the train,] we’re looking at easily over 1,000 pounds of people combined,” Curtis said. “So [it] very well could be the brakes are not designed to try and stop that much weight.”