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Fair ride

The ride that injured a girl at the Benton County Fair & Rodeo Friday night remained closed Saturday morning. 

A three-year-old Corvallis girl was hospitalized Friday night after being thrown from a ride at the Benton County Fair & Rodeo.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release the child fell a short distance from a ride shortly before 8 p.m.

The sheriff’s office said the child’s injuries were minor and the child was conscious and in discomfort and was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center by the Corvallis Fire Department.

The press release said the ride was shut down after the incident.

Lynne McKee, manager of the Benton County Fairgrounds, said Saturday morning that she didn’t have much information about the incident other than that the girl was riding the little kids motorcycle ride. She added that she planned to meet with a representative of Davis Amusement Cascadia, the fair’s ride operator, before Saturday’s fair opened.

Multiple witnesses told the Gazette-Times the motorcycle on which the girl was riding broke off from the ride and flew through the air before landing in the grass.

Among those was Jonathan Stoll, who described the incident in a Facebook post he shared with the Gazette-Times.

“My family and I are having a hard time coping with what happened and the immediate response to it. My five-year-old was on the ride, and was freaked out. As were my wife and I,” Stoll wrote.

Heather Bedtelyon told the Gazette-Times she didn’t see the incident, but did see the girl in the grass as her mother ran over to pick her up.

“My two boys and I were walking past the ride when we heard a loud noise and then screams. The motorcycle detached around the ramp position and flipped onto the grass with the child on it. The mom ran and scooped her daughter up and took her to the side,” she said.

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Bedtelyon said she went to the fair office to tell them to call for medics, but when she got there she heard that they had already been called.

“It was a terrifying event to watch. I am glad the child is OK. It definitely shook me up as well as my children since my oldest had just ridden it, she said.

Scot Meader, a unit manager with Davis, said the company is still investigating why the motorcycle detached from the ride and working with the ride’s manufacturer to understand what happened.

“The ride was assembled as per the manufacturer’s directions,” he said. Meader added that the ride was inspected in March in Las Vegas and had permits to operate in Oregon and other states. He added that the ride’s design has been around for approximately 50 years and has a good safety record. The individual ride in the incident has been operating since the mid-1990s and had been formerly owned by Oaks Amusement Park in Portland, he said.

He said it was important for the Davis to finish its investigation into the ride before speaking about the cause. As of Saturday night, he said that because of time differences the company had not yet managed to get in touch with the manufacturer.

“To the family, we want to send our condolences,” he said. “They are in our wishes and prayers.”

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Anthony Rimel covers education and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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