Mom of teen killed in ride accident wants to see changes

Tyler Jarrell with mother, Amber Duffield. Credit: Amber Duffield

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The mom of the future Marine killed in the fair accident has gone from grief, to anger for her family and towards the ride manufacturer and the state.

18-year-old Tyler Jarrell was killed when the Fireball ride broke apart at the Ohio State Fair last summer. Tyler’s mom is now fighting to prevent another family from being destroyed.

 Amber Duffield is ready to take on the system–starting with Ohio’s Ride Inspection Program.

“How can this be my state? How does the great state of Ohio not set the standard for everyone else?” she questioned.

Duffield has a wish list of what she wants to see change, including more state inspectors.

“It does need to start with our regulations and what they’re trained, how they’re trained, what’s required of them to inspect,” said Duffield.

We first spoke with Representative John Patterson, who sits on the Agriculture Committee, back in October. After our report, he said the Ohio Department of Agriculture asked for a meeting with him.

“I had an excellent conversation and they shared what they have been doing in terms of procedures, things I wasn’t aware of,” he said.

But, he said he still has concerns.

“I have to look at the fact that in a few short weeks we’re going to be back in season and I know there are parents who are concerned. We are concerned as legislators,” he said. “I feel like there are more questions I have.”

Representative Patterson is now calling for a special legislative hearing about the accident; action only the Agriculture Committee Chair, Representative Brian Hill, can take.

Duffield said Tyler joined the Marine Corps because he wanted to protect people. Even in death, he’s doing just that.

“It’s awful that it took to lose Tyler’s life, but it’s going to bring change and save others just as he always intended.”

A spokeswoman for Representative Hill said he doesn’t plan to call for a special hearing at this time.

Duffield and her lawyers are now consulting with experts in the industry to come up with proposals they can bring to the state and DC. 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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