Deadly fair ride accident could result in criminal charges

Passers by look at the fire ball ride as Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers stand guard at the Ohio State Fair Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

August 26 marks the one month anniversary of a deadly incident at the Ohio State Fair.

Friday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol was still guarding the Fire Ball ride that came apart in mid-air on July 26.

The incident that was captured on camera sent seven people to the hospital and killed 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell. The teen had recently enlisted with the U.S. Marines.

10TV has learned the Ohio State Highway Patrol has nearly completed its investigation into the deadly collapse and the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the report to determine whether the teen's death rises to the level of reckless homicide.

Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said he would have to show the manufacturer or operator showed "perverse disregard for risk" for the case to rise to the level of criminal charges. The investigation is still under review.

Attorney's representing Tyler's family say they will file a wrongful death lawsuit, and say an independent team of engineers, metallurgists, and former ride inspectors have already conducted a visual inspection of the Fireball ride, and will examine the ride again Monday.

Attorney Mark Lewis says investigators will then begin the next phase known as destructive testing. All parties will have to agree to any alterations or dismantling of the ride as investigators dig deeper for answers.

Lewis emphasized he's no expert but argued you don't need a degree in engineering to look at the ride and know something is wrong.

"What I saw showed long standing rust and corrosion and a very thin weakened metal structure," said Lewis.

KMG, the ride manufacturer, has blamed "excessive corrosion" for the deadly malfunction.


COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tragedy at the Ohio State Fair