Ride owners won't be invited to future NC State Fairs - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Ride owners won't be invited to future NC State Fairs

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Five people were injured on Oct. 24 when the Vortex ride began moving while it was being offloaded. Five people were injured on Oct. 24 when the Vortex ride began moving while it was being offloaded.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The company that owns the ride on which five people were injured at the North Carolina State Fair will not be invited back to the fair, a spokesman said.

Five people were injured on Oct. 24 when the Vortex ride began moving while it was being offloaded.

"The ride had stopped and they were fixing to offload when it started off again. That is the preliminary report," Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Deputies previously arrested ride operator Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow in connection with the accident; and on Wednesday, the sheriff's office issued warrants for the arrest of Joshua Gene Macaroni, who owns the ride.

In light of the accident, N.C. State Fair spokesman Brian Long said he can't envision the company that Macaroni works with, Family Attractions Amusement, will be invited back to next year's fair. He added that it would "not be a good idea" for the company to participate in the State Fair anymore.

Macaroni is the son of Family Attractions Amusement owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni. He is charged with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and one count of felony assault on a juvenile with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Tutterrow, meanwhile, is being held on a $225,000 bond on three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury. Tutterrow, who is employed by an independent ride contractor, is suspected of tampering with the ride, Harrison said.

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

Officials with the state Labor Department declined to offer further explanation of the tampering and the overall investigation. However, amusement ride safety consultant Ken Martin said defeating safety systems is fairly easy once you see a diagram for any amusement ride that shows the electronic controls.

"The simplest system is two alligator clips and a piece of wire," Martin said. It's that simple, it's been done before. People have fallen out of rides before and killed.

"In this particular situation, we're really lucky no one was killed."

Long said the State Fair is awaiting the results of the investigation before deciding on any new safety changes.

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Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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