Tyler Jarrell was a new U.S. Marine Corps recruit. The young Ohio man, only 18 and fresh out of high school, enlisted on July 21.
Tragically, Jarrell died five days later when he was propelled from the Fire Ball ride at the Ohio State Fair in a horrific tragedy that shocked Ohio and left seven others injured.
Two of the injured remained in critical condition the day after the tragedy. Relatives turned Jarrell’s Facebook page into a memorial page. His posts mostly consisted of selfies and photos of himself flying, which seemed to be an adventure he enjoyed.
The U.S. Marine Corps released a statement, calling Jarrell a brave enlistee who had stepped forward to serve his country.
On July 22, the South Columbus Ohio Marine Recruiting Office took to Facebook and posted a photo of Tyler Jarrell, writing, “Give him one! Tyler Jarrell is the first senior from Franklin Heights high school to enlist into the United States Marine Corps this year. I’m proud to call him my brother.”
The Marine Corps said in a statement that Jarrell “enlisted on July 21 and wanted to be in the infantry or serve as a combat engineer. He was scheduled to attend basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. in June 2018,” according to Fox News.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Poolee Tyler Jarrell’s family and all of those affected by his loss,” the statement said. “The Marines here are greatly saddened by this tragedy. We are truly proud to have known him as one of the brave few willing to step up and serve his country in the United States Marine Corps.”
Those who knew Jarrell remembered him as a “good kid” and friend who died before his time.
Jarrell died on impact after being tossed from the ride when a gondola on it snapped, authorities said. A graphic video that emerged from the scene and widely circulated on social media showed the cart breaking away from the ride before people on another gondola fell as a result. Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich, and inspection and police officials, all vowed to get to the bottom of the tragedy’s cause, which remains under investigation.
The ride is operated by Amusements of America, a carnival company from New Jersey, and was built by KGM, a Dutch company. It had passed recent inspections.
The other victims were named as Tamika Dunlap, 36, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Russell Franks, 42, of Columbus, Ohio; Keziah Lewis, 19, of Columbus Ohio; Jacob Andrews, 22, of Pataskala, Ohio; Jennifer Lambert, 18, of Columbus, Ohio; Abdihakim Hussein, 19, of Columbus, Ohio, and a 14-year-old boy whose name was withheld at the request of his family.
Lewis was Jarrell’s girlfriend; she met him at McDonald’s and inquired about him in the hospital, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Jarrell’s friends expressed grief on Facebook, with one man writing, “Tyler Jarrell.. I love you man. We grew up together. Talked every morning.. I love you dude.. we laughed and were always happy together.. you are my brother.. i love you man..”
At a news conference at the fair on July 27, the governor called it a “nightmare, a terrible situation.”
Michael Vartorella, chief inspector of amusement ride safety for the Agriculture Department, said in the press conference that the rides are inspected by Vartorella and a team of four inspectors.
“We look at these rides at different stages,” he said. “These rides come in on trucks…We look at them when they’re static, we look at them as they go up, we look at them when they’re up, and we actually operate the rides.”
“We take this job very serious and when we have a tragedy like this it hits us really hard,” said Vartorella, adding, “My children, my grandchildren ride this equipment; our guys do not rush through this stuff.”
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