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Family: Girl hurt at carnival suffered multiple breaks

Jun 6, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The 16-year-old girl who was injured Friday at a local carnival suffered multiple fractures to her head according to her grandmother Marge Metcalf of Riverton.

"Right now she is stable," Metcalf said of her granddaughter Jocelyn Clawson, who was life-flighted to Children's Hospital in Denver after being transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital at about 9:30 p.m. Friday. "She's talking some and seemingly coherent. ... She had the ventilator tube taken out of her and some of the IVs."

Clawson suffered a ruptured ear lobe and multiple fractures, Metcalf said, including one that runs from earlobe to earlobe as well as multiple breaks in her jaw.

"There'll be therapy," Metcalf said. "It'll be a long road. There are still some long-term effects. ... It may not have taken her life, but it will be life-changing for her."

Metcalf was not present when Clawson reportedly fell from the North Star Amusements bungee jump attraction at the Fremont County Fairgrounds, but she said Clawson's boyfriend and a family friend were there. According to Metcalf, they said the bungee cord "disintegrated" while Clawson was using it to jump up to 20 feet in the air.

"She free-fell the 20 feet down," Metcalf said. "And when she hit the pads that they land on, of course she didn't hit them square on. ... She was angling, so she hit her back. When she did that her head flopped over onto the concrete."

She said Clawson weighs 110 pounds, and the bungee attraction was set to accommodate 150 pounds.

"But it still snapped at the top on both sides," Metcalf said. "When she got to the 20-foot (mark) it all fell apart. ... There was nothing she could do or anybody could do."

Metcalf plans to work in the future to make sure similar accidents don't happen to other carnival-goers.

"(I want) to get some laws passed that they have to inspect all this stuff," Metcalf said. "They should ... make sure their equipment is up to date and (do) maintenance. That's one of the main things, so this doesn't happen to someone else's child or grandchild."

The family also is setting up a raffle and other donation opportunities for people interested in helping with Clawson's care.

Fair officials said the bungee amusement was shut down after Friday's accident and dismantled Saturday. North Star representatives were not available for comment, but they reportedly could not determine what went wrong with the attraction. The Riverton Police Department treated the scene as an industrial accident, and Capt. C.T. Smith said officers found no evidence of criminal activity or wrongdoing.

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