Co-worker remembers state fair accident victim: ‘He was like my own child’

In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, Tyler Jarrell, 18, poses for a photo. Jarrell was killed in a thrill ride accident at the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The Marine Corps and school officials said Jarrell enlisted last week and was going to begin basic training next summer after his high school graduation. (U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — All of the rides here on the fairgrounds of the Ohio State Fair are open except The Fireball.

For those who knew 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell, who lost his life during the rides malfunction, his death still lingers.

Tyler worked at McDonald’s in Grove City for nearly two years, and his manager, Sharon Payne, said it’s been tough for them.

“The kids here are absolutely devastated,” said Payne.

She said Tyler was a funny, hardworking, and respectful kids. The news of his death crushed her more than others.

“It broke my heart,” said Payne. “I mean this kid was like my own child. He’d come in and say hey mom, and I would say hey son.”

She said those little moment are now gone, and so are their special Sunday dinners.

“Sunday is really hard because we worked together on Sundays. He would buy dinner one Sunday, I would buy dinner the next Sunday.”

Payne said what hurts the most is that Tyler’s life was cut short before he could have full-filled the dreams he set for himself.

“Tyler wanted to help his community. He wanted to help his family, and he wanted to serve his county.”

Tyler had been enlisted in the Marine Corp just five days before he died. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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