The Slippery Road to Hell
Schlitterbahn heir/waterslide savant Jeff Henry has managed to simultaneously exist in the fire of second-degree murder and the relative frying pan of drugs and human trafficking, but really it would have been better for him just to have stayed out of trouble until this murder thing was resolved before getting involved in a new project.
See, back in 2014, Henry opened the Verrückt (German for “Insane”) slide at the Kansas City, Kansas Schlitterbahn. At the time it premiered, it was the tallest of its kind in the world. THE WORLD. Everybody in the waterpark business knows those producers at the Travel Channel will stop coming around if you can’t give them a record-breaking attraction every few years, so Henry delivered the goods. Again.
Per Schlitterbahn tradition, the ride opened over a year late. When it did, it was awarded the “Best New Waterpark Ride” at Amusement Today’s 2014 Golden Ticket Awards. http://goldenticketawards.com/ Schlitterbahn gets lots of Golden Ticket Awards, because they have cool stuff.
Anyway, two years and a month after Verrückt’s official opening, ten-year-old Caleb Schwab was decapitated while otherwise enjoying the ride. He wasn’t just any ten-year-old boy. His dad, Scott, was a Kansas State rep at the time, and is now Kansas Secretary of State. No slack of any kind would be made available to anyone remotely connected to this horror.
All manner of indictments were obtained against the Kansas park and its operations manager for, among other things, covering up a history of serious-but-less-than-fatal injuries caused by the ride, while Henry and his Verrückt co-designer John Schooley were charged with second-degree murder. We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Murder is intentional. How TF can these guys be charged with anything beyond manslaughter?”