Six Flags ride reopens after death of SC teen

Published: Jun. 29, 2008 at 12:13 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2008 at 7:48 PM EDT
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SALLEY, SC (WIS) - A popular ride at a Georgia amusement park is reopening after a South Carolina teenager was decapitated by the roller coaster after hopping two fences to enter a restricted area.

Police say 17-year-old Asia Leeshawn Ferguson died when he was hit by the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia on Saturday. The park closed the ride over the weekend out of respect for the family.

Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce says an autopsy will be conducted Monday. Police are still investigating why Ferguson was in the restricted area.

Friends and family of Leeshawn Ferguson mourned his death Sunday after he was killed while visiting Six Flags over Georgia.

"All I could do was cry, 'cause he's more than just my nephew, he's more like my little brother," Latesia Jenkins, Ferguson's aunt said.

For now, all the family can do is ask, "Why?"

"It had to be a reason for this and the only thing I can look at is God," Ann Johnson, a cousin said.

It was supposed to be a fun-filled day for the 40 member group from Oakey Springs Missionary Baptist Church. Leeshawn and his parents were also in attendance.

Investigators say Leeshawn and a friend jumped two six-foot fences near the Batman roller coaster around 2pm Saturday.  Cobb County investigators say Leeshawn got too close to the ride and was decapitated.

It's still not clear why Leeshawn jumped the fence. According to a statement from the park, some witnesses say Leeshawn was trying to retrieve his hat.

Hela Sheth, a spokesperson from the park said the restricted area Leeshawn was in was clearly marked with several "do not enter" and "danger zone" signs.

No other guests on the ride were injured in the incident.

The church is paying tribute to the memory of the young man his aunt called "an undercover comedian."

"Nobody knew that basically the jokes he would tell, or the jokes he'd crack on you and you didn't know and you realized it later," Jenkins said.

Family members say Leeshawn loved church, so they'll be using his example of faith to help get them through the rough days ahead.

Reported by Trey Paul

Posted by Jeremy Turnage

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