Mothers of 2017 Ohio State Fair accident victims respond to ride removal

Amber Duffield and Clarissa Williams (WBNS)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — No one would blame Amber Duffield and Clarissa Williams for never wanting to visit or hear of the Ohio State Fair again.

It was there two years ago that a fun family tradition turned tragic, killing Amber's 18-year-old son Tyler, and sending Clarissa's daughter Keziah to the hospital with barely any part of her body unbroken.

Tyler Jarrell and Keziah Lewis were both aboard the Fire Ball ride when it broke apart at the State Fair in 2017.

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Thursday's announcement about the closure of five rides, including one disqualified, left them wrestling with a mix of concern and relief.

"It's good that they're taking precautions, but this needs to stop," Williams said. "We just want it to be safer, for people to ride the rides and just go there for fun and come home."

''Not have that fear," Duffield said. "But I think also with them shutting it down, that's a positive because they are being much more proactive."

State Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda cited visible corrosion on the ride she ordered removed — two words that are chilling for the mothers.

"It makes me cringe," said Williams. "I just don't know how they get through with corrosion on them."

They say they are grateful for Pelanda's decision.

"We thank you," said Duffield. "We thank you for your courage in standing up and saying this is not going to be tolerated."

"Yes, thank you very much," Willliams said.

But they say this just reinforces the need for systemic change in Ohio.

"We really do need the permanency of that zero tolerance going forward," Duffield said.

"I'm glad they're making precautions," Williams said. "I'm just in hopes that 'Tyler's Law' passes so that it will reinforce that for everyone."

"Tyler's Law," also known as House Bill 189, would toughen safety inspection standards for amusement rides.

It passed the Ohio House and now sits in the state Senate, where Duffield says she is hopeful it will be up for a vote this fall.

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