HUTCHINSON — One Kansas legislator’s daughter and another Kansas legislator’s wife suffered injuries Saturday when an older woman driving a motorized scooter on the Kansas State Fairgrounds failed to stop.
Reps. Jeff Pittman, D-Leavenworth, and Adam Smith, R-Weskan, helped lift the front end of the scooter off seven-year-old Sloane Pittman and Smith’s wife, Christine Smith. Pittman also turned off the machine.
No bones were broken, but the injured suffered scrapes and bruises.
The legislators and their families were on the southern part of the fairgrounds where livestock events took place. A legislative showmanship contest Saturday attracted lawmakers, including Pittman and Smith and their families.
“She came barreling down and didn’t know how to stop the thing,” Pittman said. “It was kind of going toward the building and a big trash can,” Smith said.
Smith said his wife fell down and the scooter “kind of came up on top of her.” Other people were bumped but Sloane and Christine were the only ones actually injured and “trapped by it,” Smith said.
His daughter's legs "got twisted up under the wheel well,” Pittman said, and the machine was “still pushing forward.”
Pittman said First Aid at the State Fair assessed that there were no broken bones. Ice and Bandaids were applied.
Pittman said he didn’t engage the woman in a conversation and didn’t know why she could not stop. “My emotions were a little high,” he said.
The woman’s name was not known and it wasn’t clear whether she rented or owned the scooter.
Maybe there should be an orientation for five minutes for those renting scooters on the fairgrounds, Pittman suggested.
Edna Nolan, with the only scooter-rental operation on the fairgrounds, Scootaround, said all those renting a scooter are shown how to operate it.
“They panic,” Nolan said. It’s not unusual for customers returning a scooter to Scootaround to hit the table as they drive up to the tent, she said.
“Normally, we hear about any incident that takes place,” said Nolan, who had not heard of the Saturday incident. A scooter involved in an incident immediately is set aside and goes under investigation, she said.
“If you could slow them down just a little bit more,” Smith said. “I think those scooters probably have a governor on them to limit their speed,” said Smith, referring to an engine governor, not the person who lives at Cedar Crest.
Nolan said Scootaround’s machines variously can go up to five miles per hour or seven miles per hour.
“We witnessed another near-incident,” Smith said while they were on the fairgrounds Saturday. “Goodness sakes, if someone would have been in front of them the same thing would have happened,” he said.
First Aid told The News Tuesday that the only injuries related to a scooter during the State Fair were at the Pittman-Smith incident. Heat and blisters - from people wearing new shoes to the fairgrounds - are leading complaints, according to those staffing the First Aid location.
Sloane’s legs still hurt, Pittman said Tuesday. She’s going to be fine, he said, but it was “traumatic.” Smith said his wife was fine.
State Fair General Manager Robin Jennison said it was “an unfortunate incident” and he was sorry that it happened.
He noted that the State Fair had an especially big crowd Saturday.