October 26, 2014

Elyria
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ATV flips at fair, injuring two

WELLINGTON — Two concession stand workers at the Lorain County Fair were hospitalized early Tuesday morning after an ATV they were riding through the midway at the county fairgrounds flipped over.

Michael Zahurak, 46, of Southington, Ohio, and his passenger, Kristen Ruble, 31, of Farmdale, Ohio, were taken to Allen Medical Center in Oberlin following the accident. Both were later flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, where Zahurak was listed in critical condition and Ruble in fair condition Tuesday night.

Today at the fair

• 7:30 a.m. – Gates open
11 a.m. — HTCS harness racing
Noon – Junior Fair market beef show
1 p.m. – Junior Fair rabbit breed show
5 p.m. — 4-H band concert in building 11
6 p.m. – Junior Fair draft horse show
7:30 p.m. — LeAnn Rimes performs at the grandstand

Monday’s attendance

10,934

County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the accident, which happened about 12:25 a.m. near Gate 6, but it appears Zahurak was speeding just before the accident, said Lt. Luis Silva.

“Witnesses say as soon as he opened it up, he lost control and the ATV flipped,” Silva said.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the accident, but it is still being investigated, Silva said. A police report said a beer can was found about three feet from the ATV, but it is unclear where the can came from.

Ruble was thrown about eight feet from the ATV, while Zahurak was pinned beneath the all-terrain vehicle, Silva said. Two fair workers rolled the ATV off Zahurak.

Ruble was able to talk with sheriff’s deputies, but Zahurak suffered serious head, neck and back injuries, Silva said.

Ron Pickworth, president of the fair board, said the accident happened about an hour after the fair closed for the night.

“Because of what time it happened no one was around,” Pickworth said. “But it really just shows why we have been discouraging ATV vehicles on the midway. They are not banned, but it seems like we are working our way to that point.”

During the day, ATVs pose a danger because the midway is crowded with people walking around to see the fair sights. However, they can be equally as dangerous at night if operated in a reckless manner, Pickworth said.

“That’s why we’re discussing limiting vehicles on the midway to people who only absolutely need them for work, and then they should use golf carts — not four-wheelers,” he said.

This is the first accident of the 2007 fair season, which comes on the heels of a problem-ridden 2006 fair season.

Last year, a 12-year-old girl received an electrical shock getting off a ride on the midway. Also, a young boy was hit by a John Deere Gator, and a fair board member was involved in another John Deere Gator accident in which a man was seriously injured.

Also last year, a prized horsed died after being impaled by a metal post while in a horse stall.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.