Ohio Taking Precautions Before State Fair, First Since Ride Tragedy

Jul 24, 2018

The Ohio State Fair starts Wednesday and state officials say they are implementing additional testing to prevent ride malfunctions this year.

The vendor that supplied the Fire Ball is back again: Amusements of America is in its last year of a multi-year contract to supply state fair rides.

Last year, 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell died and seven others were injured when the Fire Ball broke apart mid-ride. Gov. John Kasich then called for an immediate shut down of all the rides that day. The ride had been inspected by four people and had been cleared to operate. 

This year, Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels says inspectors will perform more ride examinations.

“Daily operational spot checks will be conducted during the entire duration of the fair, and there will be daily reviews of all maintenance logs, operator training, and pre-opening inspection reports by our inspectors," Daniels says.

A bill calling for more state inspectors called 'Tyler's Law' has not passed. The law, introduced nine months after Jarrell's death, would require amusement parks to document repairs, maintenance and inspection reports. State inspectors would also have to document all the rides they inspect. There hasn't been any changes in the state's ride inspection program since last year, and there are still eight full-time inspectors checking the 3,700 rides.

One person who suffered a traumatic brain injury settled to receive nearly $2 million from ride's owner and two private inspection companies. Jarrell's family also reached a settlement of $1.27 million.