Ohio State Fair ride crash survivor awarded $20M

Woman whose boyfriend was killed suffered severe injuries, and six other people were hurt.

Nearly seven years after Keziah Lewis was seriously hurt when the Fireball ride at the Ohio State Fair failed mid-ride, a court judgment has awarded her $20 million from the ride’s manufacturer, Lewis’ attorneys announced Monday.

Of the $20 million awarded to the University of Cincinnati graduate, $10 million of that is designated as punitive damages, Lewis’ attorneys announced.

On July 26, 2017, Lewis and her boyfriend, Tyler Jarrell, were ejected from the ride at the Ohio State Fair after one arm of the spinning, swinging Fireball ride broke off; Jarrell was killed, Lewis suffered severe injuries and six other people were also hurt. In all, Lewis suffered pelvis, ankle and rib injuries and underwent multiple surgeries.

Cellphone video captured the moments when the ride came apart, flinging Lewis and Jarrell from their seats.

According to Lewis’ legal team, Lewis’ injuries led to over $2 million in medical bills as she fought to recover from the injuries. Her attorneys claim she suffers from a lifelong neurologic deficit in her right foot that requires ongoing physical and cognitive rehab.

The court found the Fireball ride’s Dutch manufacturers, KMG, was aware of a defect in the ride as early as 2012, but the company failed to alert ride owners nationeide. The court found that negligence — and oversight by ride inspectors and operators — led to the catastrophic crash.

After the crash, Lewis spent time in a wheelchair, underwent excruciating physical therapy, and wasn’t sure she would return to Cincinnati or campus. She’d been involved in a number of activities before the crash — including a touring singing group.

In 2023 — six years after the crash — Lewis walked across the stage at UC and received her diploma after earning the last of her credits required. She told WCPO she was considering a Masters degree and ultimately wanted to write a book.

Jarrell, of Columbus, was thrown about 50 feet and pronounced dead on the midway. He was a high school student who dreamed for years of joining the military and had just enlisted in the Marines. The Marine Corps and school officials said Jarrell enlisted last week and was going to begin basic training after his high school graduation next year.

In the years since the crash, Jarrell’s mom has led the fight to pass and implement Tyler’s Law, which required changes to ride inspections in Ohio. The Fireball arm had been internally corroded, missed by inspectors.

Along with Lewis, Jarrell’s family — and two others injured in the crash — were awarded a total sum of $78 million.

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