Two more Schlitterbahn employees indicted in connection to 2016 deadly water slide incident

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In front of a Kansas City, Kan., courtroom Wednesday two more indictments were unsealed in connection to the deadly 2016 water slide incident at Schlitterbahn Water Park.

The new indictments charge David Hughes and John Zalsman with obstructing law enforcement in the Schlitterbahn investigation. The two are believed to be maintenance workers at the park.

Both Hughes and Zalsman declined to speak to reporters outside court, where they made their first appearance Wednesday and both pleaded not guilty.

Authorities said both cases against the men involve an isolated incident of obstruction of law enforcement's investigation.

Schlitterbahn released a statement Wednesday afternoon:

We have no reason to believe that any employee obstructed justice.  John and Dave have decades of experience in maintenance and are respected professionals on our maintenance team.  With the help of men and women like John and Dave, we run a safe operation and know that this was a tragic accident.  We stand behind our staff and the safety of our park.

Both men have been released on oral recognizance bonds, and are due back in court on June 12. Attorneys representing Hughes and Zalsman declined to comment.


Earlier this month, a state inspection found several alleged violations of regulations on 11 rides at the park where 10-year-old Caleb Schwab died in 2016.

Schwab died while riding the Verrückt water slide when the raft he was on went airborne and hit a metal pole overhead.

Jeff Henry, John Schooley and Tyler Miles

The KCK water park -- along with a Schlitterbahn co-owner, slide designer and former park operations manager -- was charged in connection to Caleb's death. Charges were dropped in April against the water park due to a technicality, but officials say those charges will be refiled.

Court documents show, from August 2014 until Caleb's death in August 2016, more than a dozen people reported injuries from the ride including concussions, whiplash and herniated spinal disk injuries.

Verrückt designer John Schooley, Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, and former park operations manager Tyler Miles are all charged with multiple felonies in the Caleb's death.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Miles faces a total of 20 felony charges including 12 charges of aggravated battery, five child endangerment charges, two charges of interference with law enforcement and one involuntary manslaughter in connection with death of Caleb.

Read the full indictment against Miles here

Schooley and Henry face charges of reckless second-degree murder. The two, along with Henry & Sons Construction Company, Inc., were indicted in connection with injuries sustained by 13 other persons, including four other minors, while riding the water slide. Those charges include aggravated battery and aggravated endangering a child.

Read the full indictment against Schooley and Henry here

All three men have pleaded not guilty to their charges and waived their right to a speedy trial, giving their attorneys times to go through the massive amount of documents and expert testimonies in the case.

Schlitterbahn opened for the season Friday, May 25, but 11 of its rides remained closed.