Posted: Jul 12, 2010 6:07 PM by Kate Mundy
Updated: Jul 12, 2010 6:09 PM
A Dixie Landin' roller coaster remains closed as investigators try to figure out why a Lafayette woman fell to her death. Lindsay Zeno, 21, plummeted about 30 feet from the "Xtreme" roller coaster in Baton Rouge.
Her family knew she had fallen on Sunday, but they expected a broken leg or arm. So, news of her death has devastated the tight-knit family.
Zeno's grandmother Dorothy Portlock said her grandaughter lived her life to the fullest. She was thrilled to be at Dixie Landin' with friends Sunday, but something went terribly wrong as the coaster twisted and turned along the steel track.
"Her friends say that when they turned around and looked they didn't see her but then probably she was on the ground," said Portlock.
One witness says the harness came up and Zeno struggled to keep it down.
"Her life was cut short just in the twinkle of an eye," said her Aunt Charlotte Porter.
Zeno had so much life ahead of her. The 2008 Northside High School graduate worked at Transcom in Lafayette, but her passion was in the kitchen... making lavish meals for all her cousins. "They're gonna miss her," said Portlock.
"Her last hours were happy hours so we take comfort in knowing that she was happy," said Porter.
The state fire marshal's office is leading the investigation into what caused the deadly fall. A mechanical inspection is underway and crews are examining the harness where Zeno was sitting. The investigation could take all week.
In the meantime, Zeno's family has retained an attorney out of New Orleans. They've also talked to a claims specialist from the amusement park. But what they really want, they can't have, and that's Lindsay's life back.
"She's where she's supposed to be, we're the ones here that's lost," said Porter.
An autopsy is underway to determine a cause of death. Once Zeno's body is released from the coroner's office, her family says she will become an organ donor.