New Jersey

New Jersey Orders Shutdown of ‘Sizzler' Carnival Rides After Girl's Death

New Jersey officials have ordered a statewide shutdown of a type of ride popular at carnivals after a 10-year-old girl died on one in South Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs said it was ordering the shutdown of the ride, which at that fair was called "Xtreme" but in the industry is known as the "Wisdom Super Sizzler."

DCA also ordered the closure of any other "Sizzler-related" rides throughout the state, it said in an email.

The DCA regulates carnival rides in New Jersey and is investigating Hailey McMullen's death. The 10-year-old fell from the ride just after 6 p.m. Saturday at the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival in Cumberland County.

The company that owns the ride, Skelly's Amusements, shut down all its rides at the Harvest Festival after the incident. 

One of Skelly's owners said he and his employees are "totally devastated" as the investigation continues into what went wrong.

"We are totally devastated by this, this has never happened to us in our sixty-year history," Tom O'Connor, one of the owners of Skelly's Amusements, said Monday.

"We all have families, children and grandchildren," he added.

Family Photo
Hailey McMullen. See larger image here.

Skelly's Amusements owned the Xtreme for 27 years, and the company's rides are inspected daily.

Xtreme has a height limit but does not have a weight limit. A lap bar on the ride also locks into place. Investigators took a look at the lap bar on Sunday.

DCA said Wednesday that the state had inspected the ride in April for its annual state permit, and it was found to be in compliance.

"The annual permit assures that the ride is inspected annually and the owner has met all outstanding violations and has proper insurance for the duration of operation under the annual permit," a DCA spokesperson said.

The DCA also said they place special emphasis on seeing rides at their first setup for traveling shows that move throughout the season. The festival in Deerfield Township was the operator's last stop of the season.

The New Jersey State Police Department is the lead agency on the investigation. The Cumberland County Prosecutor's Office will only get involved if it's determined that there was any criminal wrongdoing.

A public viewing will be held for McMullen on Friday, Oct. 18, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Marantha Baptist Church on 1524 Bridgeton-Millville Pike in Millville, New Jersey. The internment will be private.

Checks or donations may be sent to the following:

Salem Police Officer Association (SPOA), C/O Hailey
PO Box. 62
Salem NJ 08079-0062.

One hundred percent of the donations will go to the McMullen family.

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