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Woman falls from roller coaster at Plainfield Fest

A 45-year-old Plainfield woman fell from a small roller coaster onto asphalt Thursday night at Plainfield Fest.

Plainfield Fest opened about 6 p.m. Thursday for a private event for individuals with special needs, according to its website. Not long after that, police and fire personnel already stationed at the festival witnessed a woman falling from a small roller coaster ride called the Iron Dragon.

"It happened so fast," Plainfield Fire Chief Jon Stratton said. "We were 50 feet away; we heard a noise and saw her fall out."

The woman suffered minor injuries and was transported to Edward Emergency Department-Plainfield. She was released later Thursday night, Stratton said.

She likely fell about 5 feet onto the asphalt below, he said.

Justin Williams, 41, of Joliet said he was also on the ride with his wife and two daughters, ages 7 and 10, who are on the autism spectrum.

“We got one lap around, and on the second lap things started to feel really unstable," Williams said. "It felt like we sloped inward and crashed down. To my left side, I saw a woman fly by me."

Williams said his daughters were "traumatized" after the incident. He also said he was treated at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

Police later determined the ride had a broken track, which caused the last car of the seven-car coaster to come off the track, according to a news release from Plainfield police.

All of the coaster's other riders were removed from the carnival ride in about 10 minutes. Some had to be taken off using a portable ladder, but no one else reported injuries.

"All these kids were pretty shook up,” Stratton said. “It was a little crazy.”

The Illinois Department of Labor, Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Division responded to the scene. Officials from the agency are currently investigating the incident. Officials from the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation, who organize Plainfield Fest, declined to comment Friday.

Both the fire chief and Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek said they remembered one other time, about 10 years ago, when a ride malfunctioned at Plainfield Fest. The ride lost power and was stuck about 10 feet off the ground.

The fest continues through the weekend at Plainfield Central High School.

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