The Darke County Sheriff’s Office is investigating three separate injury incidents associated with the transport shuttle at the Darke County Fair. The transport shuttle is a wagon that is specially designed to transport people between parking areas and amusement/exhibit areas of the Darke County Fairgrounds. The wagon is towed by a tractor and has an open and low bench design on both sides which allows passengers to step upon the unit and sit down to be transported.
The first incident occurred Friday at approximately 1:15 pm. The shuttle was located at a pick up and drop off point on the south side of the grounds near the speed office. According to witness statements, Phyllis Oliver, age 80 of Versailles was preparing to board the shuttle when tractor operator Bobby Roark, age 47 of Greenville, engaged the tractor to move. Oliver was struck by the shuttle as it moved and she fell to the ground and on to a wheelchair. She was dragged by the shuttle a short distance. She received an injury to her leg and foot as well as other abrasions. Oliver was transported to Wayne HealthCare by Spirit Medical Transport.
The second incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 8:30 pm. The shuttle was located at a pick up and drop off point on the south end of the fairgrounds inside gate 6 entrance. According to witness statements, Joseph Soley, age 78 of Greenville, and his adult son were trying to board the shuttle when tractor operator, Christian Kimmel, age 25 of Ansonia, engaged the tractor to move. Soley was possibly struck by the shuttle and/ or tripped over his son and fell to the ground. He received lacerations to his head and abrasions from striking the pavement. He was transported to Wayne HealthCare by Spirit Medical Transport.
The third incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 9:15 pm. The shuttle was located at a pick up and drop off point on the south end of the fairgrounds near the speed office. According to witness statements, Jason Duff, age 46 of Greenville was in the drop off area when the tractor and shuttle operated by James McGriff, age 55 of Greenville, arrived and was coming to a stop. The preliminary investigation indicates that the shuttle struck Duff in the leg and ankle causing an injury. He was treated by Spirit Medical Transport at the scene and transported by CareFlight to Miami Valley Hospital. He has since been treated and released.
According to Darke County Fair Manager Brian Rismiller, the incidents are currently being reviewed by a safety committee and golf carts are being used in place of the shuttles for now. After reports of the shuttle incidents, all drivers were tested for drugs and/or alcohol at the hospital – with all results coming back as negative.
“This is the first report of incidents of this nature on record in 160 years of the fair,” Rismiller said during a press conference on Monday. “Safety for everyone is the most important concern we address and will continue to do so as the fair attendance continue to grow each year.”
Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker says that the case will be turned over to the Prosecutor’s Office for review, but criminal charges are unlikely.
These incidents are still under investigation. The Darke County Fair Board has been cooperating fully in the investigation and active in reviewing shuttle procedures.
Read more-Original article posted by Blue Bag Media:https://www.earlybirdpaper.com/fair-shuttle-incidents-investigation/