DEERFIELD TWP., N.J. - A 10-year-old girl was tragically killed after she was ejected from a festival ride in New Jersey over the weekend.
Colorful balloons silently wafted in the air in front of the Dollar General store near the site of the Deerfield Township Harvest Festival Monday. It was a peaceful tribute to a little girl gone too soon.
Assistant store manager Krystal Defeo was there when it happened.
“You know, you’re there for a night of family fun and it turns tragic. People were running toward it. People were running away. It was terrible," Krystal Defeo said.
Hailey McMullen,10, was thrown from the "Xtreme" just after 6 p.m. Saturday. She died of her injuries shortly after being rushed to the hospital.
The ride was covered with warning labels dictating what size riders may sit where and with whom.
Williamstown-based Skelly Amusements says it’s the first fatality in their 60-year history. They’ve been running things at Deerfield for 35 years.
“We have logbooks of our amusement rides being inspected daily prior to opening. We have the Department of Community Affairs here for two days prior to the event," Rick Marchione with Skelly Amusements said.
Hailey was a fifth-grader at Deerfield Township Elementary School where grief counselors will be on hand when classes resume Tuesday.
As state investigators probe what went wrong Saturday night, the people at Skelly are packing up for the season. Deerfield was the last carnival on the 2019 schedule.
Skelly's Amusements, Inc. released the following statement:
"The last few days have been very difficult for many people.
We are fully cooperating with inspectors from the NJ Department of Community Affairs.
The ride has been released to us by the investigating authorities and we will begin the process of dismantling it and taking it home.
Because this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to provide any other additional information."
The Salem Police Officer’s Association has created an account in which donations can be made to assist the family with Hailey’s funeral expenses. Checks or donations may be sent to: Salem Police Officer Association (SPOA), C/O HaileyPO Box. 62 Salem NJ 08079-0062.100% of the donations will go to the McMullen Family. A public view will be held Friday, October 18th from 1800-2100 at Marantha Baptist Church1524 Bridgeton-Millville PikeMillville, New Jersey 08332.