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Fairgoers Injured; Amusement Park Operator Arrested

The North Carolina State Fair was marred this year by an accident that injured five people when a ride inexplicably started up just as riders were exiting.

On the evening of October 24, the Vortex, a ride enjoyed for wild flips and twirls, had ended. As passengers climbed off the ride, the machinery began moving, dropping riders from as high as 30 feet onto a metal platform beneath the ride.

Five people ranging in age from 14 to 39 were injured, one seriously. Following investigation, law enforcement arrested 46-year-old Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, the operator of the ride at the time of the accident. Points of the arrest include the following:

  • Mr. Tutterrow is charged with three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
  • A Georgia resident, Mr. Tutterrow was considered a flight risk, and the court declined to lower his $225,000 bail.
  • Preliminary inspection of the ride showed safety overrides on the Vortex presented evidence of tampering.

In a bizarre and unrelated twist, a different ride also called the Vortex was the site of a serious accident that critically injured a fair worker at approximately 3:30 a.m. the Monday after the fair closed. A steel seating section of the ride fell, pinning a man beneath the metal.

According to a research study published in May of this year, 92,885 children were injured on fixed-site amusement park rides between 1990 and 2010 in the United States. The most common cause of injury is falling from or against a ride.

Stemming from crime or negligence, amusement park accidents can be traumatic. If injured in North Carolina, speak with an experienced personal injury law firm in Raleigh.