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No Criminal Charges In Fatal Ohio State Fair Accident

st day of the 2017 Ohio State Fair, killing one man at the scene. A woman died from her injuries months later.
Jason Woodhead

Authorities say the state will not pursue a criminal case after an investigation into the fatal Ohio State Fair ride accident in late July.

In a press release Thursday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol announced they’d completed the criminal investigation into the failure of the Fire Ball ride, which killed 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell and hospitalized several others.

They presented the evidence to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office more than a week ago. Prosecutor Ron O’Brien concluded there was not sufficient evidence to proceed with a case.

KMG, the Dutch manufacturer of the Fire Ball ride, concluded that excessive corrosion of a support beam led to the ride's "catastrophic failure." The ride broke apart mid-operation, flinging several people in the air. 

Jarrell died from blunt force trauma injuries, while one victim ended in a coma (she's now awake and improving) and othersrequired surgeries and physical therapy. 

In the course of the investigation, troopers interviewed over 80 witnesses, including those who were on the ride at the time of the accident. Troopers also measured, mapped, scanned and photographed the Fireball ride, which will remain securely stored at the Ohio State Fair and Exposition Grounds until it’s released to Amusements of America.

Jarrell's family announced in August they are conducting an independent investigation into the incident, and will press for changes to federal law on regulating amusement rides.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.