GREENVILLE — Attendees at this year’s Darke County Fair seeking to “hitch a ride” to visit the attractions will rely on golf cart shuttles, as tractor shuttles will no longer be used within the grounds.
Use of tractor shuttles ceased early during the 2017 Darke County Fair, after three people were injured in three separate incidents involving the tractor and wagon specially designed to transport people between parking areas and the amusement/exhibit areas of the fairgrounds.
In the first incident on Aug. 18, 2017, an 80-year-old Versailles woman was preparing to board the shuttle when the tractor operator engaged the tractor to move. She was struck by the shuttle as it moved and fell to the ground and onto a wheelchair. She was dragged by the shuttle a short distance, receiving an injury to her leg and foot as well as other abrasions.
The second and third incidents occurred Aug. 19.
In the first, a 78-year-old Greenville man was trying to board the shuttle when the tractor operator engaged the tractor to move. The man received cuts to his head and scrapes from striking the pavement. In the second Aug. 19 incident, a shuttle struck a 46-year-old man from Greenville, causing injuries to his leg and ankle. All three of those injured were promptly released following treatment of their injuries.
The drivers involved in last year’s incidents all tested negative for drug and alcohol use, and none of the drivers were issued citations.
There is no cost to ride and the carts will travel the same paths across the grounds as the tractor shuttles did in previous years.
However, Darke County Fair Board Manager Brian Rismiller said some tractor shuttles still will be used outside of the fairgrounds to ferry passengers, particularly in the parking areas.
“The Fair Board addressed the issue over the course of a few months after the fair last year, and then came to the conclusion we weren’t going to use the tractor shuttles inside the grounds anymore,” he said. “The fair is growing, and we just didn’t have room for them any longer. The golf cart shuttles worked out very well when we started using them.”
Rismiller added there should no longer be a safety issue in this regard as the golf carts are smaller and easier to control.
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