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Was The Lap Bar Secure Before A Grandma Was Thrown Off A Six Flags Roller Coaster?

The Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: employees differ on whether a Six Flags passenger was sitting safely in her seat; Dallas-Fort Worth is on a mountain cedar high; pets star as artwork mashups at the Dallas Museum of Art, and more.

There are more developments regarding last summer’s death of a rider who was thrown from the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas. Court documents filed this week show differing accounts as to what happened to passenger Rosa Esparza, The Dallas Morning News reports. A Six Flags Over Texas roller coaster operator claimed she didn’t believe Esparza’s lap bar was properly secured. Despite those concerns, she didn’t stop the ride to check Esparza. But a ride attendant contradicted the operator’s statement, saying in a deposition that he made sure that Esparza’s lap bar wasn’t loose. A Six Flags spokeswoman declined to comment on the latest news. A park worker had told police the safety restraint was “a little high, or not as tight as it should be” on Esparza, The News reported. Esparza, a grandmother, plunged 75 feet to her death.

  • The husband of a pregnant North Texas woman on life support is suing the hospital to have her removed from life support. A lawsuit filed Tuesday in state district court asks a judge to order John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth to remove life support for Marlise Muñoz, a Haltom City woman who fell unconscious in November while pregnant. Her husband, Erick Muñoz, says a doctor at the hospital told him his wife is considered brain-dead. Doctors informed Erick Muñoz that his wife had “lost all activity in her brain stem, and was for all purposes brain dead," the suit states. But hospital officials say Texas law prohibits them from following Marlise Muñoz's wishes because she is pregnant.

  • Mountain cedar is baaaack – and it’s bad this season. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “A recent warming trend — Sunday’s high was a spring-like 74 degrees — coupled with strong southerly winds has awakened a seasonal monster.” University of Tulsa biology professor Estelle Levetin, who issues pollen forecasts, declared: “We could tell it was going to be a doozy.” Blame warm weather and high winds – it’s a bad combination. The pollen count reached 279 in Fort Worth on Monday, the highest for mountain cedar this season. But it could be far worse: The count has been in the thousands in Austin and San Antonio. Try to stay indoors on bad cedar days and take over-the-counter medications such as Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin before the cedar strikes.

  • Rangers Captain earned a dubious honor Tuesday: He’s one of the five creepiest Major League Baseball mascots. Regarding the Texas Rangers’ mascot, summed it up this way: “Tight pants on a horse-man. An unspoken horror of mascots is that their mouths are always agape. Stare at people with your mouth closed, and they'll feel uncomfortable. Stare at people with your mouth open, and they'll call the cops. No mascot, though, employs the horrible open mouth to better effect than any other mascot in baseball. …There's probably a reverse-Godfather component to Rangers Captain freaking me out, too, like he's going to wake up in bed with Nolan Ryan's severed head.” It could be worse. The Cincinnati Reds’ Mr. Redlegs was deemed the creepiest: “It's unbearable. It's the eyes.”

  • The Dallas Museum of Art had some fun Tuesday, also known as Dress Up Your Pet Day. The museum did some mashups of employee pets featured in various artworks. “We not only love our art, but we also love our animals,” declared the museum’s Uncrated blog. “We couldn’t resist combining some of our favorite works from our permanent collection with some of our favorite pet pals.” George Costanza, a West Highland White Terrier, did his best imitation of George Washington, who was featured in a Rembrandt Peale portrait. “Like George Washington, George the Westie is courageous and fearless in the face of danger,” wrote Amanda Blake, a DMA employee. “He is an alpha dog and has been known to keep much larger dogs in line. Plus, I thought that he would look very handsome in a colonial costume.” Take a look at the whimsical depictions here.
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.