Home News Operator and inspectors cleared in State Fair ride that killed Marine recruit

Operator and inspectors cleared in State Fair ride that killed Marine recruit


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The state will impose no fine or other punishment on the operator of a thrill ride that malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair in July, injuring seven people and killing an 18-year-old.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture concluded Friday that the operator, Amusements of America, and the Fireball ride, were in compliance with the requirements of Ohio law at the time of the latest inspection.

The release of the investigative summary, written by Chief Ride Inspector Michael Vartorella, marks the end of the state’s investigation into the ride’s malfunction.

Amusements of America failed to file a required report within 24 hours of the incident, Vartorella reported, but officials decided not to fine the company or revoke its license.

Investigators for KMG, the Dutch company that manufactures the Fireball, said excessive corrosion caused a seat car to detach from the ride. The corrosion dangerously reduced the thickness of the ride’s interior support beam, the company said in a statement.

Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old student at Franklin Heights High School and Marine recruit, was killed when he was thrown from the ride. An attorney for Jarrell’s family said the family intended to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Ohio State Fair organizers shuttered rides after the deadly Fireball malfunction. The rides reopened days later after they were re-inspected.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien determined in August that there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges related to July 26 malfunction.
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