N.C. State Fair ride operator charged in incident where 5 people hurt

Oct. 27, 2013 at 9:49 AM

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A ride that malfunctioned and injured five people at the North Carolina State Fair showed signs of tampering, a sheriff's office said.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., was booked Saturday on felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, CNN reported.

"After [an] inspection of the ride, we determined that it had been tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Tutterrow will appear Monday in Wake County District Court.

Fair officials said four of the injured Thursday were from one family and the fifth was an employee whose job was to secure Vortex riders into their seats, The (Raleigh) News & Observer said.

"It makes me mad to think anybody would put people's safety in danger," Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. "I'm not mad -- I'm furious."

Witnesses told investigators the five were injured when the Vortex began before the four riders were secured in their seats, The News & Observer said. The ride has two arms that twirl and suspend properly secured riders. Because they weren't secured, the riders fell from their seats, witnesses said.

One fair-goer said he saw workers struggling with the restraints about 30 minutes before the accident, The News & Observer said.

Harrison said more arrests were possible.

State officials said the ride had another technical issue earlier but it was resolved.

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