Elizabeth Gilreath was scalped and left with a fractured skull after her hair got caught in a Cinco de Mayo festival carnival ride in Omaha, Nebraska.
The 11-year-old Omaha girl had some of her red curls caught in a Cinco de Mayo carnival ride mechanism on Saturday morning, WOWT News reports. Elizabeth Gilreath immediately began screaming when her hair got caught, according to witnesses. The little girl remains in critical condition at the Nebraska Medicine hospital.
“It went on for 5-10 minutes everybody told me while it ripped and pulled my daughter around,” Timothy Gilreath said. “They don’t even know if the muscles will work and my daughter will be able to see again. That is our baby.”
Watch: Carnival Ride Accident Leaves 11-Year-Old Girl Injured: Elizabeth Gilreath is in intensive care after… https://t.co/156ZpZC1VR
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“There’s nothing we could do and so I stood up and I was like yelling, I was like, ‘Stop the ride. Stop the freaking ride,’” said Aushanay Allen, a friend of Gilreath’s who was shooting video of her friend enjoying the ride.
Surveillance cameras at the park where the Omaha Cinco de Mayo festival took place reportedly verified the ride operator ran to the girl’s aid but also reveals the cars continued to move, which possibly injured Elizabeth further.
Girl Injured on Carnival Ride May Never See Again: The father of 11-year-old Elizabeth Gilreath, whose scalp… https://t.co/lMcbEej9Or
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Jolene Cisneros, a bystander mom at the festival, ran over and stopped the ride car Elizabeth was in from spinning. She has been deemed a hero by the 11-year-old girl’s family.
“It was still spinning. I had to stop it with my hands and turn it to the point where it was to the platform. I was like, “you’re going to be okay” and she’s just like, ‘where’s my pretty hair?’”
According to Cisneros, Elizabeth was bleeding extensively before she lost consciousness on the floor of the Cinco de Mayo carnival ride. The woman feared the little girl might die in her arms.
Girl, 11, Has Hair Caught In Carnival Ride: Elizabeth Gilreath has had surgery to repair her… https://t.co/4aYP9L0LVq
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When Elizabeth arrived at the Omaha area hospital, the doctors quickly determined she had suffered a fractured skull, KETV News reports. The 11-year-old girl had gone to the festival with her cousins.
Virginia Cooksey told local reporters that when she asks Lulu questions, her daughter will squeeze her hand to give answers and to let her know she understands what is being said. The worried and angry mother also said she feels the carnival operator should face charges for allegedly ignoring her daughter’s pleas to stop the ride after she lost her balance on the seat and her hair became tangled.
The Cinco de Mayo festival rides were a part of the Thomas Shows company. Katie Weddleton, a representative for the amusement rides company, said that “safety is a our top priority.” The ride Elizabeth Gilreath was injured upon has been shut down during the investigation into the accident.
Timothy Gilreath told local reporters that when he arrived at the hospital, he was shocked to see his daughter’s entire scalp had been removed.
“I whispered to her, ‘Baby, you’re a Gilreath. You’re tough,’” Timothy said.
“She was tortured,” he added when speaking to the media.
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Virginia Cooksey posted this update about Elizabeth Gilreath’s condition on Facebook.
“Lulu is such an amazing and out going little girl she has to make it through this, she wants to be a senator when she grows up. She loves to read and learn. She loves her family dearly. Please family and friends keep Lulu in your thoughts and prayers on this Mother’s Day. No mother should have to go through what I’m going through.”
Elizabeth Gilreath cannot currently speak, but her doctors reportedly remain hopeful that her eyelids will heal properly and her vision will not be impacted and that she can eventually regrow her hair.
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