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DeWine Backs Increase In Amusement Ride Inspectors

Gov. Mike DeWine talks to reporters after a meeting of the Ohio Expositions Commission.
Karen Kasler
Gov. Mike DeWine talks to reporters after a meeting of the Ohio Expositions Commission.

The opening of the Ohio State Fair next week will mark two years since a fairgoer died when a ride fell apart.

The Fireball accident, caused by corrosion on the ride, killed 18 year old Tyler Jarrell when he was thrown from it. Seven others were injured.

In the budget, Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda asked for a 26 percent increase for the Ride Safety Division, to a total of $1.8 million.  That would pay for more ride inspectors for the Ohio State Fair, county fairs, amusement parks and other locations.

Gov. Mike DeWine said he supports that. He said he's put lots of kids on rides, so he understands people’s concerns about ride safety.

“Safety is the essential function of government. So yeah, I very much support her request for increase in inspectors. In fact, I have told her if you get to the point and you think you’re going to take more inspectors, we’ll find the money someplace else and we’ll have those inspectors out here," DeWine said.

The Ohio State Fair opens July 24. The first ride to be inspected is the SkyGilder, which is one of the Fair’s oldest ride and has been recently updated. After the Fireball accident, the SkyGlider’s manufacturer warned the state it needed to be repaired.Last month, the Ohio House passed "Tyler's Law", which would require the Ag Department to establish a minimum number of inspectors and inspectors for rides and set standards for who would be hired as inspectors. It would also identify rides that need extra inspections and require fairs and amusement parks to have manuals for each ride, and would require written records and photos of rides before and after major repairs.

Jarrrell's family has filed a lawsuit against KMG International, the Fireball's manufacturer. The suit claims KMG knew about the defect that cause the ride to break apart five years before it happened. The company has not responded. The families of victims reached settlements with the ride's owner and two private companies that inspected the ride.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.