Tragedy Strikes at Ohio State Fair

A horrific accident at the Ohio State Fair took the life of an 18 year old Ohio man and 7 other individuals were seriously injured.  A ride categorized as an ‘Extreme Thrill’ ride took the life of Tyler Jarrell when it malfunctioned. A video captured the accident as it occurred.  It clearly shows a large extension arm spinning a circular shaped unit filled with cars holding passengers that broke away when the ride reached an unsafe speed, plummeting Jarrell and others to the ground. The cause has yet to be determined, but this tragedy shines light on the controversial safety of mobile fair and festival rides in Ohio and across the country.

This ride in particular passed all inspections the day the accident occurred. The ride manufacturer proactively shut down all similar rides across the globe to ensure no further incidents occurred until a cause is determined.

Mobile Carnival and Fair Ride Accidents

The governing body for inspections and quality control of amusement rides is the Ohio Department of Agriculture.  The ODA is responsible for monitoring and governing a variety of operations, from fair rides to pest control businesses and numerous other departments.

The inspector cited that nothing out of the ordinary was noticed on the ride, and the ride was able to open as scheduled for the fair’s opening day.  About a dozen other rides were not released to open due to incomplete inspection reports or the rides did not pass inspection.

Fair ride accidents happen!  In Lake County, a young boy was electrocuted at a fair when the fence he touched was electrified, unbeknownst to visitors or employees. Another incident in 2010 at the Geauga County Maple festival ejected two passengers during a ride, and the Ohio State Fair in 2002 led to multiple passengers suffering severe injuries when a car operated by an extended arm crashed 15 feet to the ground. Unfortunately, these tragedies are common across the country.

Ride Accident Statistics

A report in Time Magazine estimates that about 12 kids are injured and treated each day after suffering injuries on amusement rides.  The 2013 study by the Consumer Products Safety Commission analyzed hospital data over a 20 year span and found that 2,500 injuries were reported in the US.

Many studies combine stationary or permanent ride data with that of mobile fairs and carnivals, so the numbers are likely lacking some merit and potentially even under-reported. The Outdoor Amusement Business Association estimates that over 500 million visitors frequent festivals and fairs during the seasonal months.

Causes of Accidents and Injuries

Common causes of accidents, injuries and fatalities in mobile fair rides include;

  • Operator error
  • Ride Malfunction
  • Manufacturing Issue
  • Tampering
  • Inclement Weather
  • Inspection Errors
  • Health Conditions
  • & More

Stricter standards for safety and operator training are critical for preventing these tragedies from continuing or even becoming more widespread. Unfortunately for the Jarrell family, this accident will forever change their lives.

If you or someone you loved was injured at a fair, carnival or amusement park, you must seek expert legal help. Contact my offices immediately!

I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injurymedical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving ClevelandAkron/CantonColumbusDayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at or call at 877.944.4373.

Article Name
Tragic Ohio State Fair Accident
Holding irresponsible companies accountable for the senseless injury or death is what I do on a daily basis. It sickens me when families have to bury a loved one because a company cut corners on safety or used grossly inadequate material in the production of their equipment. Although the investigation into the death of a young man on a fair ride has not been completed, we can surmise it was likely due to negligence on the part of the manufacturer and/or the fair.
Catastrophic Injuries