Carnival Horror: 11-Year-Old Girl Scalped After Her Hair Got Caught In A Carnival Ride


Elizabeth Gilreath — who goes by Lulu — was on a spinning ride at Omaha's Cinco de Mayo festival when her hair reportedly got caught, her friend told WOWT 6.

The Omaha Police Department released a statement saying an investigation is underway.

“I can’t believe the place is still open,” Billie Bankus told KMTV Sunday as she stood holding a sign outside a Cinco de Mayo festival in Omaha, Neb., warning people of the dangers she said lurked inside the gates. Bankus was protesting on behalf of Elizabeth Gilreath, an 11-year-old girl whose scalp was ripped off Saturday afternoon after her hair got caught on one of the carnival’s rides, People reports. Elizabeth is now recovering at a nearby hospital and is expected to survive, though her dad tells WOWT, “They don’t even know if the muscles will work and my daughter will be able to see again.” Elizabeth, who also goes by Lulu, was taking a turn on the King’s Crown ride when her hair got tangled up in the ride’s spinning mechanism, yanking Elizabeth around for what’s believed to be between five and 10 minutes, Elizabeth’s dad says. “I stood up and … was like yelling … ‘Stop the ride! Stop the freaking ride!'”


Surveillance video taken from a nearby company shows the operator of the ride running from the scene (though WOWT notes he may have been going to find help). A mom on the scene was the one who ended up stopping the ride and coming to Elizabeth’s rescue. “I had to stop it with my hands,” Jolene Cisneros says. “I was like, you’re going to be OK and she’s just like, ‘Where’s my pretty hair?'” The festival coordinator tells KMTV that Thomas D. Thomas, the company that operates the King’s Crown, had inspected all the other rides and determined it was safe for the festival to continue. Elizabeth’s mom posted pictures Sunday on Facebook that showed her severely injured daughter (warning: graphic), writing, “Lulu is such [an] amazing and [outgoing] little girl she has to make it [through] this she want[s] to be a senator when she grows up. … I want the man who is responsible for being so stupid and neglecting my daughter to be punish[ed] for this crime.”

According to local reports, people at the carnival who saw the accident removed their T-shirts and made makeshift tourniquets while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

“At this time, an investigation is underway,” Thomas D. Thomas Shows, the company that furnishes the rides, said in a statement according to WOW6. “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Thomas D. Thomas Shows are with the young girl and her family during this extremely difficult time.”

The carnival company is cooperating with the investigation. The ride — knows as King’s Crown — was last inspected in March, WOWT reported.

Lulu’s mother, Virginia Cooksey, shared photos on Facebook of Lulu in the hospital, saying, “we have a long road ahead of us.”

WARNING: These photos are graphic.


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