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Questioning revealed in investigation of deadly Fire Ball ride

The investigation into the Fire Ball accident is continuing at the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Department of Agriculture. (Courtesy Ohio State Highway Patrol)

The Ohio State Highway Patrol revealed the recorded interviews made during the investigation of the fatal Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair, including the questioning of the ride's state inspectors.

Tyler Jarrell, 18, died when a swing arm to the ride snapped in July and one of the ride's gondolas tore off. Seven other riders were hurt in the crash who were either riding in the detached gondola or seated elsewhere. Earlier that same day, inspectors with the Department of Agriculture inspected the ride and issued it a license to operate.

Three of the four inspectors agreed to provide a statement to troopers. Those interviews were done 13 days after the crash and in the presence of their attorneys.

During questioning, inspectors were asked about a picture which shows a crack in the swing arm that tore taken after inspection and before the fatal ride. None of them said how long they inspected the ride or that they detected the crack.

"This is really out of context because it's a picture," inspector Chad Sterner told troopers during questioning. "I can't really answer that because it is out of context. I'd have to see it up close."

The Department of Agriculture said its conducting its own investigation into the inspections and the crash. At this point, all four inspectors are still ride inspectors with the department.

The family of Tyler Jarrell have said they will be filing a wrongful death suit.


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