Ohio State Fair Fireball tragedy: Witnesses, ride inspectors and - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ohio State Fair Fireball tragedy: Witnesses, ride inspectors and operators describe fatal accident

(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)
COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) -

Hours of audio interviews and dozens of pages of documents relating to the deadly accident at the Ohio State Fair in July paint a picture of the investigation into what happened.

In July, seven people were injured, and 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed when the car he was sitting in on the Fireball ride at the Ohio State Fair became detached.

Jarrell and one other person were thrown from the ride. The teen had recently signed up to join the marines.

He was pronounced dead on the scene six minutes after police initially received information that something had happened.

The ride’s manufacturer determined that the cause of the accident was excessive corrosion.

Prosecutors agreed with the assessment, and decided not to criminally prosecute anyone.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated what happened, and in the days and hours after the incident, they interviewed dozens of witnesses, inspectors and operators.

“All I remember is hearing the loud crash of the car snapping off the ride and just people screaming and screaming and screaming: 'Stop! Stop! Stop!'” one witness said in a recorded interview.

Another described watching what would be Jarell’s final moments.

“He was hit in the air and he fell down face first.”

A third woman described the moments on the ride before and after the tragedy happened.

“Next thing you know there’s a big jerk, the seat flying through the air, there’s people flying through the air and then it's not stopping, and then it suddenly comes to a stop and just jerks.”

The ride operator, Cesar Martinez, spoke with OSHP officials on multiple occasions in the days following the incident.

He, and every inspector and operator told police they didn’t see anything wrong with the ride that day.

The Fireball ride had passed several inspections in the days before the accident.

“I had no explanation. I was like I don't know what happened and this is not possible this is not supposed to happen,” Martinez told investigators.

Prosecutors decided that there wasn't evidence anything like this had happened before with any other Fireball ride and that merely failing to see or anticipate a risk isn't criminal.

The decision not to prosecute doesn’t negate any rights to file any civil suits in connection to the case. 

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