New law to require safer amusement ride wiring
The law was created because of the negligent electrocution of an 8-year-old.
COLUMBUS (AP) -- A new state law prompted by the death of an 8-year-old boy who was electrocuted at a county fair ride will require safer wiring and increases funding for amusement ride inspections.
Greyson Yoe was shocked when he touched a railing enclosing a bumper-car ride at the Lake County Fair in August 2003. He died a few weeks later. Prosecutors said the ride was not properly grounded.
Greyson's Law was added as a provision of the state budget signed Thursday by Gov. Bob Taft.
"Something positive has come about from this horrific trauma," Greyson's mother, Audra, said. "We are still trying to celebrate his life, but his passing will help others, and that is very important to us."
The law will raise money for inspections by tripling the permit fees that ride owners pay in Ohio. Permit fees for ride owners will be $150 per ride.
The law also requires that any amusement ride operated on electrical power be installed with a circuit breaker that can automatically shut down if an electrical surge runs through the power line.
Audra Yoe said there still may be some loopholes, because rides are required to be inspected only once a year.
She said she will continue lobbying to have rides inspected every time they operate.
The Yoe family received nearly $2 million last year from a settlement with the rides' owner and the fair's board.
Ride owner Eugene Chaffee of Riverview, Fla., agreed to pay $1 million to William and Audra Yoe of Madison Township. The fair board's insurer agreed to pay $950,000 to settle their lawsuit.
In addition, Chaffee pleaded guilty to attempted voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to six months in jail.
Two inspectors for the Ohio Department of Agriculture were found guilty of failing to properly inspect the ride, and an electrician was found guilty of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter.