Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bill 169 Thursday. The legislation expands government oversight of amusement rides, gives greater rule making authority to the Director of the Department of Agriculture, increases fines, adds safety regulations and requires additional government employees to handle the increased inspection load.
The bipartisan measure – known as “Tyler’s Law” – is named for Tyler Jarrell, a freshly enlisted in the Marine Corps, who took his girlfriend to opening day at the Ohio State Fair two years ago. Tragically, Jarrell was killed on a ride that malfunctioned. He and his girlfriend Keziah Lewis were on the Fire Ball, which split apart sending Jarrell, Lewis and six others plummeting to the concrete ground.
Jennifer Lambert, another rider, suffered a traumatic brain injury. She never recovered and died a year later.
Following Jarrell’s death, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported on the Department of Agriculture’s Amusement Ride Safety and Fairs Division‘s role inspecting rides. “This state’s ride inspections aren’t designed to catch the type of damage its manufacturer said led to its catastrophic failure at the Ohio State Fair…” they wrote. “Ohio inspectors don’t give any ride the kinds of tests that would catch hidden corrosion, according to ride specialists.”
It was determined that a corroded beam resulted in the catastrophic failure of the ride. An intact Fire Ball can be viewed in the video below.
Governor DeWine proudly shared the signing event on Facebook, writing, “It was my privilege to sign #TylersLaw today. Ohioans have the right to know when they put their child on a ride or get on a ride themselves that everything has been done to make sure that ride is as safe as it can be.”
It was my privilege to sign #TylersLaw today. Ohioans have the right to know when they put their child on a ride or get on a ride themselves that everything has been done to make sure that ride is as safe as it can be. More info via @Enquirer: https://t.co/qIJhvsWe8m #Ohio pic.twitter.com/wBA5A9e7m6
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) November 6, 2019
Jarrell’s mother, Amber Duffield, and girlfriend Keziah Lewis had been campaigning for stronger laws and better enforcement.
Following the signing of the bill, reporters asked Duffield, “…whether there was anything more that could have been done in the bill.”
“Our vigilance is as good as it can be at this time,” she told them, while noting much is left to human nature.
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