An 18-year-old man has been charged with pushing an 8-year-old boy off a waterslide in Apple Valley, sending the youngster plummeting more than 30 feet to the concrete below.
Roman A. Adams, of Maple Grove, was jailed and charged this week in Dakota County District Court with felony third-degree assault in connection with the incident Tuesday afternoon at the Apple Valley Aquatic Center. Adams has since been released ahead of his first court appearance, scheduled for Sept. 17.
Adams and the boy, whose identity has yet to be disclosed, were waiting in line about 1:35 p.m. to slide down when Adams picked up the boy and pushed him over the rail of the platform, causing the boy to fall about 32 feet, according to the criminal complaint.
Adams told a police officer at the scene that his wait in line was taking a long time, so he pushed the boy and saw him fall, the complaint continued.
Police and witnesses said the two did not know each other and had not spoken while in line.
The boy was conscious and breathing when police arrived. He suffered numerous broken bones in his feet, a broken thigh and shattered bones in one shoulder, according to the complaint.
Police Capt. Nick Francis said the boy "will have to go through a number of surgeries." Francis added that "it's miraculous that he only has some broken bones."
Adams is developmentally delayed, Francis said, but "when we spoke with him, he was able to tell us that he knew what he did, he knew what he did was wrong, he knew what he did was going to hurt someone."
A personal care attendant was at the water park with Adams but "not in the area with Roman where this happened," Francis said.
Thousands of visitors use the Aquatic Center each season, which runs from June through August.
"It's been open for 20 years, and this is the first incident where anything close to this has happened," Francis said.
The municipally operated Aquatic Center was closed for the rest of the day Tuesday.