Settlement reached in carnival accident
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

January 2, 2004 -- A settlement was reached this week in a lawsuit that sought damages for two children who were critically injured when they were thrown from a carnival ride during the 2002 Hopkins County Dairy Festival.

Kitney Thomason, who was 15 at the time of the accident, received multiple neck fractures as well as a ruptured vertebrae in her neck and a broken leg. Her sister, Kassidy Johnson, 7, sustained severe fractures to both legs.

Defendants in the suit were William "Billy" Pearson of Splendora, owner of Southern States Shows, ride operator Raymond Carl Williams and a female employee of the carnival, identified only as "Jane Doe" in the suit which was filed by Sulphur Springs attorney J. Douglas Froneberger.

Froneberger said the settlement in the suit was reached without placing any blame on the carnival owner or the 50-year-old ride, known as the "Octopus."

The actual cash settlement was in excess of $206,000. Of that amount, $90,857 will go to Kitney Thomason, $48,850 to Kassidy Johnson and $66,379 to their mother, Jodi White. The money will be invested in an annuity under terms of the settlement and will be paid out to the family over a number of years.

Sulphur Springs attorney Ronald Fergurson, ad litem attorney for the two girls, said he was satisfied with the settlement.

"I think the girls are well on their way to a good recovery," Fergurson said.

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