North Carolina Fines Valdosta Fair Ride Operators Over Injuries

By: Eyewitness News, Emily Johnson, Associated Press Email
By: Eyewitness News, Emily Johnson, Associated Press Email
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Associated Press News Release
April 23, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina regulators have fined thrill ride operators more than $114,000 following a mishap at the 2013 State Fair that left five people injured, three of them critically.

The state Department of Labor announced the civil fines Wednesday following a lengthy investigation into the Oct. 24 accident with the Vortex ride.

Family Attractions Amusement of Valdosta, Ga., and ride owner Joshua Macaroni were fined more than $56,000. Ride operators Tim Tutterrow and Omar Toranzo were each fined $350.

Macaroni and Tutterrow already face felony charges over what prosecutors say was tampering with a safety switch that was supposed to keep the ride from moving unless patrons were properly secured.

Four patrons and a ride worker were injured when the Vortex suddenly lurched into motion, flinging them through the air.


November 19, 2013

Raleigh, NC - A ride operator jailed in the wake of an accident at the North Carolina state fair last month now has a lower bond.

A judge reduced Timothy Tutterow's bond from 225,000 dollars to 100,000 dollars.

The move came after a request from Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby who made the request because the 46 year old Tutterow has been cooperating with investigators. Tutterow's attorney Roger Smith Jr. says the ride operator's top concern is the victims .

Wake Co. District Attorney: I think things are improving. One of the victims is still in very serious condition. I think others seem to be recovering, and we're very thankful for that.

The vortex ride malfunctioned at the North Carolina state fair in late October. It suddenly started moving as people were disembarking-- flinging several riders through the air and seriously injuring three people.

Tutterrow and the ride owner are both facing charges, including assault with a deadly weapon


October 30, 2013

Louisburg, NC - New accounts of what happened at the North Carolina state fair continue to emerge, after a Quitman man is charged with tampering with a ride. Two college students who were on the ride when it started back up, are now sharing their story.


Associated Press Release

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A prosecutor says more charges could come in an investigation into what happened when a ride at the North Carolina State Fair jolted into motion, injuring five people.

Ride operator 46-year-old Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow of Georgia made his first court appearance Monday to face three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison says investigators determined the ride had been intentionally tampered with, though authorities have provided no details of the evidence against Tutterrow.

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says there are still unanswered questions and more charges are possible.

Three of the five injured were still in the hospital.


By: Emily Johnson
October 28, 2013

Quitman, GA - Timothy Tutterrow of Quitman, GA, was due in court Monday in North Carolina to face three criminal counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
It happened after five people fell out of the Vortex ride an estimated 30 feet to the ground at the North Carolina State Fair. Eyewitnesses said the ride restarted as people were getting off.

Authorities said Tutterrow manipulated with the ride. "This ride was tampered with after the inspection and that critical safety device were tampered with and compromised," said Donnie Harrington of Wake County Sheriff's Office.

The owners of the Vortex ride, Family Attractions, is a company in southwest Georgia. WCTV visited their website and it lists a Valdosta address. When we went to the location it was a UPS Store. The UPS workers said that Family Attractions receives mail to the location.

We were told by Quitman Police Department that Family Attractions had a warehouse located off of Highway 84 in Quitman. When we visited that location we found fair attractions stored there.

Safety inspections on fair rides are done by the Department of Labor before the fair begins. During the fair though ride companies are responsible for the inspections.

We've made multiple attempts to get comment from Family Attractions, but so far we haven't heard back from them.

"It makes me mad to think that anybody would put peoples safety in danger like they have and I'm not made...I'm furious," said Steve Troxler North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner.

Troxler also said the investigation is on going and there is still a lot of information to gather.


Associated Press Release

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A ride operator is due in court Monday to face criminal charges after five people were injured at the North Carolina State Fair.

Ride operator Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., faces three criminal counts of assault with a deadly weapon in the mishap. Tutterrow was being held in jail Sunday on $225,000 bond and due in court Monday for a first appearance.

His attorney says he's devastated.

Three people injured on the ride were in a Raleigh hospital on Sunday. On Thursday, the "Vortex" ride suddenly jolted into gear as people were exiting, dropping some riders from heights that eyewitnesses estimated to be 20 or 30 feet.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said investigators determined the Vortex had been tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised.


Associated Press Release
By EMERY P. DALESIO

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- An amusement ride operator is in jail after investigators say someone tampered with a ride at the North Carolina State Fair and compromised safety devices.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow of Quitman, Ga., faces three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He operated the ride when five people were hurt Thursday. Tutterrow is due in court Monday. His attorney said Sunday that Tutterrow is devastated by what happened.

WakeMed hospital spokesman Thomas Morris said three people remained in the Raleigh hospital Sunday after the ride on the state fair's midway suddenly jolted into gear as people were exiting, dropping some riders from what eyewitnesses estimated to be 20 or 30 feet in the air.

Reached by phone Sunday, the family of 29-year-old Anthony Gorham and 39-year-old Kisha Gorham declined to talk about the victims. They and an unnamed 14-year-old were the ones still hospitalized.


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