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18 Injured in Accident at “Dollywood” Theme Park

May 1, 1989 GMT

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP) _ Two trains from a brand-new roller coaster bumped into each other on opening day at entertainer Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, slightly injuring 18 riders, a spokesman said.

Sensor devices that activate the braking system of the new ″Thunder Express″ were realigned after Saturday’s accident, said Dan Rohman, marketing director for the Smoky Mountain amusement park that Miss Parton opened four years ago. The ride worked without problem Sunday, he said.

Eighteen riders were treated and released at Sevier Medical Center after the accident, said nursing director Rosemary Lehuray.

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The accident occurred when a train loaded with 15 riders failed to slow enough as it was returning to the loading zone. It bumped into another train loaded with 20 people, said Rohman.

The $2 million ride carried an estimated 7,000 people Saturday, the first day the park was open this season, Rohman said.

Miss Parton performed at the park Saturday and Sunday. Rohman said he didn’t believe that she was aware of the mishap.