Attorneys Ben Crump, Bob Hilliard hired by family of teen who fell to his death from Orlando thrill ride

A 14-year-old boy fell to his death late at night from a free-fall amusement park ride that is taller than the Statue of Liberty along a busy street in the heart of Orlando’s tourist district.

ORLANDO, Fla – Attorneys Ben Crump and Bob Hilliard have been hired on retainer to represent the family of Tyre Sampson, 14, who fell to his death Thursday night from the Orlando Free Fall at ICON Park, according to a news release.

According to News4JAX sister station WKMG in Orlando, the release specifies that Crump was hired by Sampson’s father, Yarnell Sampson, and that Hilliard was hired by Sampson’s mother, Nekia Dodd. Both attorneys said in statements that they intend to work together to get answers for the grieving family.

“This family is shocked and heartbroken at the loss of their son. This young man was the kind of son every parent hopes for -- an honor roll student, an aspiring athlete, and a kind-hearted person who cared about others. Needless to say, his family is absolutely devastated,” Crump said.

The Orlando Free Fall opened in Orlando’s tourist district in December 2021, billing itself as the tallest free-standing drop tower on Earth, taking up to 30 guests high into the air before dropping them 400 feet at about 75 mph.

“A fun theme park visit with his football team should not have ended in tragedy. Bob Hilliard and I, on behalf of both parents, Yarnell and Neki, intend to get answers for Tyre’s grieving family and request prayers as they shoulder this unthinkable loss,” Crump said.

On Friday, Orange County Sheriff John Mina identified Sampson at a news conference.

“Based on all of our preliminary investigation information, it appears to be a terrible tragedy, but our investigation is still open,” Mina said.

A video of the fatal fall was shared on social media and has now been seen by thousands of people. News4JAX will not show the video due to its graphic nature, but to hear the audio, including the workers discussing safety measures right after the fall, press play below:

Moments after a horrific tragedy took place in Orlando, workers of the Orlando Free Fall ride could be heard discussing safety measures after a teen fell to his death late Thursday.

“Families have a right to expect these national theme parks, making millions of dollars, will keep their children safe and will put that safety above all else,” Hilliard said. “Every parent who sees this horrific video can’t help but think the same thing, ‘That could have been my child.’ What unimaginable terror did 14-year-old Tyre experience as he slipped out of his unsecured harness and fell helplessly towards his own death?”

The attorneys asked that anyone who was on the ride at the time, or anyone who witnessed the fall, call the number 866-428-8209 to speak with the family’s legal team.

About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.