State News

DA: Man charged in NC fair injuries cooperating

Posted November 18, 2013
Updated November 21, 2013

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow

— A thrill ride operator is cooperating with investigators probing a mishap at the North Carolina State Fair that left several people hurt, authorities said Monday.

A judge reduced Timothy Dwayne Tutterow's bond from $225,000 to $100,000 at the request of Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, who said the 46-year-old "has been cooperative and helpful with the investigation."

"We've sat down and talked to him," Willoughby told the judge.

Tutterrow, of Quitman, Ga., was released on bond Monday after being jailed since his Oct. 26 arrest. He was operating the Vortex ride last month when it suddenly spun into motion as people were trying to get out, flinging several patrons through the air and seriously injuring three people.

Willoughby said one of those injured remains hospitalized "in very serious condition," nearly a month after the accident. The two others have been released, including a 14-year-old whose name has not been disclosed.

Tutterrow and ride owner Joshua Gene Macaroni, 32, are each charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of assault on a juvenile with a deadly weapon.

Macaroni, also from Quitman, was not present when the injuries occurred. He is free on $225,000 bond and was not required to appear in court Monday.

Wake County sheriff's said investigators have determined that a safety mechanism designed to keep the ride from moving when the restraint bars weren't locked in place had been disabled.

People close to the investigation said that the tampering wasn't malicious but was only a shortcut to make the process of getting people on and off the ride easier.

Authorities haven't commented on a motive, and Willoughby again declined to speak further about the case Monday, including just what assistance Tutterrow has provided. He has been seen visiting the ride with detectives after the fair ended, appearing to show them how the machine worked.

Tutterrow's lawyer, Roger Smith Jr., says his client would never have intentionally harmed anyone but has declined to discuss details of the case.

"Every time I go to see him over at the detention center, his first concern is only about the families that were injured on the ride," Smith said.

Macaroni's lawyer, Dan Boyce, says the ride owner plans to plead not guilty and expressed confusion as to why his client is charged.

As a condition of their bonds, Tutterrow and Macaroni are required to have no contact with one another pending trial.

The next court hearing in the case is set for Dec. 18.


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  • BeachyKeen82 Nov 18, 2013

    The ride owner was paid a flat fee to bring it to the fair and he wasn't even here. It made no difference if the ride ran 10 times an hour or zero times an hour, he didn't make any more or less money.

  • Zoey0815 Nov 18, 2013

    Someone needs to be the fall guy, right? It's usually the little guy. I don't know the details of this case, but, in general, there are an awful lot of of people with money who will do anything to make more at the expense of those without. The ones with the money rarely take the fall. They can afford better lawyers.

  • scubagirl2 Nov 18, 2013

    "I'm really surprised that his employer hasn't paid his bond.

    You know, I hadn't thought of that but you are exactly right....good question

  • gingerlynn Nov 18, 2013

    the ride owners are paid a portion of ticket sales as well. WRAL could you please put this in your article? Talk to somebody at the ag dept to confirm it.

  • Honesty first Nov 18, 2013

    The fair operator paid a fee for the ride to be there. The operator and the owner had no reason to tamper to gain more riders as this would not alter the compensation.

  • lazerdoc Nov 18, 2013

    I'm really surprised that his employer hasn't paid his bond.

  • A person Nov 18, 2013

    Tutterrow should cooperate and turn states evidence against the owner of that ride. He was only the operator and had nothing to gain from it running, only the owner had anything to gain

  • lazyrebel Nov 18, 2013

    HE should have never been locked up to begin with.

  • Classified Nov 18, 2013

    "Another poorly written story on WRAL. The basic facts are again missing, ie what the bail was reduced to."

    "A judge reduced Timothy Dwayne Tutterow's bond from $225,000 to $100,000 at the request of Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby"

  • Just Once Nov 18, 2013

    As I understand from previous stories the safety process slowed down the loading and unloading of passengers.. thereby limiting the financial gain.