Woman Hurt in Ride’s Fatal Crash Sues Disney

Times Staff Writer

A woman who suffered back injuries last year in a fatal crash at Disneyland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has sued the Walt Disney Co.

The suit, filed Nov. 18 in Orange County Superior Court by attorney Fred Nameth, alleges negligence. It also alleges that the ride’s design is defective and that Disney continues to engage in conduct unsafe for the public.

Burbank resident Christina Alvarado was one of 10 passengers injured in the Sept. 5, 2003, crash that killed Marcelo Torres, 22, of Gardena. His parents have filed a wrongful-death suit against the company.


The crash occurred when two bolts on a guide-wheel assembly fell off, leading to a partial derailment in which the lead passenger car slammed into the locomotive’s undercarriage.

State investigators found that maintenance workers didn’t understand safety procedures and failed to tighten bolts and attach a safety wire. A manager also signed off on the ride without inspecting it.

Alvarado is under the care of a chiropractor and is seeing a psychiatrist, Nameth said. The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Disney has acknowledged that proper procedures were not followed but denies that broader maintenance problems exist.