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Amusement ride operator arrested

Police secure a barricade around the Vortex ride and closed it Thursday. The operator is due in court.

Robert Willett/The News & Observer

Police secure a barricade around the Vortex ride and closed it Thursday. The operator is due in court.

RALEIGH, N.C. — An amusement ride operator was arrested after reports that someone tampered with a ride at the North Carolina State Fair and compromised safety devices, investigators said.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow of Quitman, Ga., faces three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He was operating the ride when five people were hurt Thursday.

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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 health care facility Sunday after the ride on the state fair’s midway jolted into gear as people were exiting, dropping some riders from what eyewitnesses estimated to be 20 to 30 feet in the air.

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

The accident happened after a ride known as the Vortex started up. The Vortex is a large ride that spins, twirls, and flips passengers upside down.

The state Labor Department and the Wake County sheriff’s office were investigating the accident. Labor Department inspectors performed safety checks on all the rides before the fair opened. Officials said the ride was closed for the rest of the fair, which ended Sunday.

A New York-based carnival company, Powers Great American Midways, was hired by the state to provide and operate rides for the fair.

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