Photo: Wake County Sheriff's Office
RALEIGH, N.C. -- A ride operator is facing criminal charges over injuries at the North Carolina State Fair has made his first court appearance.
Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow of Quitman, Ga., faces three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting serious injury.
Wake County District Court Judge Keith Gregory declined to lower Tutterrow's $225,000 bond. The 46-year-old defendant was returned to jail in handcuffs.
The "Vortex" jolted into motion Thursday evening as people were exiting, dropping riders from heights of up to 30 feet. Wake Sheriff Donnie Harrison says the ride had been intentionally tampered with to bypass critical safety devices.
Three people remained hospitalized on Monday, including a 14-year-old child.
Records show Tutterrow has twice been arrested for drug charges, including a 2002 felony charge of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
2 Wants to Know checked into the company that hired Tutterrow and owned that "Vortex." Family Attractions Amusement Company is a Valdosta- Georgia based business.
They've been operating since 1996 and employ fewer than 50 people. We also checked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website. Family Attractions Amusement has a clean record. But an independent safety organization claims they had other safety issues. So 2 wants to know contacted the Georgia Labor Department to straighten it all out.
But our news partners at WRAL found federal records show Family Attraction Amusements had issues with their transportation. The fleet of trucks they use to transport their rides to fairs have been pulled off the road 42 percent of the time during inspections, that's twice the national average. In the past two years, their trucks have been cited for 54 maintenance violations. They've also had 10 drivers cited for being behind the wheel longer than allowed and two cited with drug or alcohol offenses.
The Associated Press