N.C. State Fair ride operator arrested after accident

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow WRAL-TV

Raleigh, N.C. A Georgia man was arrested for the ride accident at the N.C. State Fair on Thursday that injured five people.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., was charged with three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison announced at a news conference Saturday, reports CBS affiliate WRAL in Raleigh.

"After inspection of the ride, we determined that it had been tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised," Harrison said.

The injured ranged in age from 14 to 39, and some came from the same family. One of the injured was a ride operator.

"The ride had stopped and they were fixing to offload when it started up again," Harrison said last week.

Fairgrounds Police secure a barricade around the Vortex after an accident closed the ride just after 9 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 24, 2013 at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, N.C. The accident occurred on the ride at the North Carolina State Fair on Thursday night, sending five people to the hospital; 2 were reported in critical condition
Fairgrounds Police secure a barricade around the Vortex after an accident closed the ride just after 9 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 24, 2013, at the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh, N.C.
Robert Willett,AP Photo/The News & Observer

The five victims were taken to WakeMed. Two have been released and three remain hospitalized. Officials identified them as Anthony Gorham, 29; Kisha Gorham, 39; and a 14-year-old juvenile, who is also in the same family.

According to a description of the ride, the main arm is hydraulically lifted to a 30-degree angle and the V-shaped center of the ride starts rotating while the car arms also rotate, each in a different direction.

Witnesses told WRAL everything appeared normal and then, all of a sudden, they saw a rush of emergency personnel and fairgoers frantically converging to the area.

According to officials, Tutterrow is employed by an independent ride contractor, Family Attractions. The Vortex is the only ride the company has at the State Fair.

Tutterrow worked with Family Attractions for four years, according to company spokeswoman Joyce Fitzpatrick. She said the company has a very clean safety record.

The investigation is continuing, and additional arrests may be made, Harrison said.

Tutterrow's bond was set at $225,000.

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