The Wake County, NC Sheriff’s Department arrested a 46-year-old Georgia man Saturday night on three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon after a carnival ride accident on Thursday left several people injured, some seriously. According to Raleigh, NC’s WTVD Channel 11, Timothy Dwayne Tutterow was the operator of a dangerous carnival ride which had knowingly been tampered with in order to disable its safety devices.
Sheriff Donnie Harrison said, “After inspection of the ride, we determined that it had been tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised.”
On Thursday, fairgoers were in the process of disembarking and boarding a ride called The Vortex when it suddenly came to life, swinging away from the loading platform and sending bodies flying.
“I heard three or four bangs, I mean it sounded like baseballs hitting an aluminum floor,” said witness Jonathan Stanley to WTVD. “I just ran over and I saw the bodies, I mean, I was right at the fence. There was one guy in particular; he was all the way back against the back of the ride. It looked as if he had flown out and maybe hit it and then maybe came down face first.”
“They were falling like raindrops,” said another witness named Max Bryn. ” A person fell and landed head first on the ground and was just completely knocked unconscious. People were falling everywhere. I’m pretty sure a girl fell right in front of me at least four feet away and just slammed on there. It was terrible.”
“It was swinging with people still on it with people on the metal platform and it was swinging about 8 feet away from my face,” Bryn continued. “They were all lying around on the ground pretty sure unconscious, none of them were moving.”
Other witnesses reported that Tutterow, the ride operator on duty, was visibly upset.
“The ride attendant was crying, just torn up…was on his knees…all shaken up,” Stanley said.
Three people remain hospitalized with serious injuries — 29-year-old Anthony Gorham, 39-year-old Kisha Gorham and a 14-year-old whose name was not available.