License lapse led to uninspected amusement ride

The state agency that oversees the safety of amusement rides conducts inspections based on license requests from operators,
a practice that led to rides going uninspected for months at a party center where a 5-year-old boy was critically hurt, officials
said.

The Xscape indoor amusement center in Indianapolis let its license expire in December, which state officials weren't
aware of until last week's accident.

State Fire Marshal James Greeson, whose office is responsible for amusement ride safety, said it is partly a "logistics"
issue because different offices oversee licensing and inspection matters.

"All those sections somewhat work independently with the different inspectors we have around the state," Greeson
said.

A state report said while the Xscape center at Lafayette Square Mall didn't have a current license or insurance, its
teacup ride had no mechanical failures to explain the accident.

The injured boy, Denzel Jennings, was hospitalized in critical condition after being hurt Friday. His grandfather, Dennis
Jones, said Denzel suffered fractures to the front and back of his skull after his head jerked forward and then backward,
hitting part of the teacup each time.

A state inspector reported that one of the cups in the ride had already been marked out of service for broken brakes. He
also cited Xscape for having bolts not tightened properly at the center of the ride, but state agency spokesman John Erickson
said that wasn't found to have contributed to the accident.

No violations were found with Xscape's other rides.

New York-based Zoom Entertainment LLC, Xscape's parent company, said in a statement that it was cooperating with investigators
and wouldn't comment on the accident until later.

Erickson said state law requires ride operators to seek new licenses and inspections each year.

"I would say most of the operators know what the rules are, and they abide by them," Erickson said.

Requiring the state to take the initiative wouldn't be reasonable, he said.

"That's kind of like asking a police entity if they check all licenses that have expired to make sure people aren't
driving without licenses," he said. "You're talking about a monumental task."

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