SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating after a 14-year-old girl was run over during a haunted hayride in Smithfield over the weekend.
The teenager, who worked as a scare actor for Seven Cedars Farm’s haunted hayride, was critically wounded after she became caught underneath a trailer being towed by a tractor.
“It was traumatic for everybody,” Smithfield Deputy Fire Chief Steven Quattrini said, adding that the teenager was in “rough shape” when first responders arrived.
Quattrini said the driver stopped immediately upon realizing something was wrong. He estimated there were approximately 30 people on the hayride at the time.
“Believe it or not, most of those people helped the driver lift the trailer off of the young lady,” he explained.
The girl was rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital with bone fractures and internal injuries, according to Quattrini.
The teenager has not been identified at this time, however, Superintendent Dr. Dawn Bartz confirmed she is a student at Smithfield High School.
“The accident was witnessed by community members, including some of our students,” she wrote in a statement.
Bartz said she visited the teenager at the hospital Sunday morning, but did not provide an update on her condition.
“I would like our families to know that we have a full counseling support team in place at Smithfield High School to assist students beginning Monday morning,” Bartz said. “Smithfield is a very close community and our counseling staff in each of our other schools is also prepared to assist students who may be feeling upset.”
Seven Cedars Farm opted to close its haunted hayride — which typically runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights throughout the month of October — for the remainder of the season.
“We apologize that we had to stop the hayride but we felt like it was the right thing to do and there was no way we could of carried on after that,” Seven Cedars Farm wrote in a statement shared Sunday afternoon. “We apologize to those on the wagon itself who had to witness this incident and are truly grateful to those who stepped in to help.”
Quattrini explained that Seven Cedars Farm applies for a permit annually for its haunted hayride, and there are numerous safety regulations in place to protect their employees and visitors.
That’s why he described the incident as “baffling.”
“Right now, it seems like it was a freak accident,” he said.
This is not the first time a teenage volunteer has been injured during a haunted hayride at Seven Cedars Farm. Back in 2016, a volunteer slipped on the ground and was run over by the trailer’s rear passenger wheels, according to a police report obtained by 12 News.
The teenager suffered two broken ribs, as well as bruising, a punctured lung and a mild concussion, the police report noted.
Quattrini said the town’s first responders plan to meet with the farm’s owner soon to discuss safety regulations.
12 News reached out to the farm’s owner regarding the incident, who declined to comment until the OSHA investigation has been completed. It could take up to six months for the incident report to be finalized.
An attorney for the victim’s family said she has suffered “serious and significant injuries” that are still being assessed.
“The initial investigation by our firm indicates the possibility of serious safety violations, a lack of appropriate training and potential violations of child labor laws,” the attorney wrote in a statement. “It is too early to draw conclusions, but we will be working with authorities and conducting our own independent investigation to confirm what happened. The goal of the family is to be an advocate for change so that this never happens again to another child.”