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Roller coaster safety expert dies after suffering head injury in fall



Published: Fri, July 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Brown helped redesign a ride at Cedar Point.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- Richard Brown, a national expert in the safety of amusement park rides who helped design more than 100 rides at Disney, Cedar Fair, Six Flags and Universal Studios, has died. He was 64.

Brown, also known as Doc, died June 23 after suffering a severe head injury in a fall at his Huntington Beach home, his family said.

Brown did extensive research on how the speed and g-force of roller coasters and "pod-based" rides impact the human body long before such research was commonplace. He consulted on the design, construction and operation of dozens of popular rides, including "Back to the Future" at Universal Studios, colleagues said.

In 1993, The Wall Street Journal published a profile of Brown and called him "an expert in making sure that amusement park rides don't make people throw up."

Carolyn Treadon, Brown's daughter, recalled that her father was always learning more about how to keep people safe.

"Some of his colleagues said, 'All you had to do was say please and he would do whatever he could to help you,"' she told the Orange County Register, which used him as a source in several articles about ride safety and testing. "It was the same when we were growing up. If you asked, he always took time to make sure you understood everything you needed to know."

Brown's story

Brown was born June 15, 1941, and grew up in New York before serving in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service from 1958-1962.

After earning a degree in electrical engineering, he began studying the emerging field of biomechanical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. In one of his first ride-related jobs, Brown helped Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky redesign a roller coaster that was breaking the collar bones of some riders.

Brown is survived by his former wife; two daughters and a son; and two brothers.




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