Troopers presented the findings of the criminal investigation to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office on Aug. 21. After reviewing the case, Prosecutor Ron O’Brien concluded there was not enough evidence to proceed with a criminal case.
With the criminal portion of the investigation completed, the Fireball ride will remain securely stored at the Ohio State Fair and Exposition Center until it is released to Amusements of America.
Troopers interviewed more than 80 witnesses during the investigation, including those on the ride at the time of the accident. Troopers and third-party experts completed non-destructive inspections of the ride, which includes measurements, mapping, scanning and photography.
Representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Amusements of America, KMG, the Ohio State Fair and Expo Center and the Consumer Products assisted troopers with the investigation.
Troopers said they appreciated “those who called the tip line and our public safety partners who assisted in response to the accident.”
Tyler Jarrell, an 18-year-old Columbus man, died and seven others were injured when the amusement ride named Fireball broke apart on the evening on the fair's opening day. Jarrell was pronounced deceased at the fairgrounds.
Jarrell’s family retained the firm of Kitrick, Lewis & Harris to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.
Tyler had joined the Marines the week before and was looking forward to serving his country. He was a quartermaster with the Columbus Police Department Explorer Club, and also worked at McDonald’s while finishing high school.
“Everyone who knew Tyler is grief-stricken and in shock,” said his mother, Amber Duffield. “We just need to know how and why this happened, and whether it could have been avoided. We hope our demand for real answers will save others from being hurt or killed because of bad or dangerous amusement park rides.”
Kitrick, Lewis & Harris has retained the professional services of Introtech to investigate and reconstruct the tragic incident and determine how and why it happened. The investigators planned to work with the highway patrol and other agencies.
“Tyler was a good young man with a bright future ahead of him,” said attorney Mark Kitrick. “This was a senseless, tragic incident that likely could have been avoided. Our only goal in filing a wrongful death suit is to obtain justice for Tyler.”