Family hurt on State Fair ride 'will be healed,' friend says
Posted November 27, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — For most people, the North Carolina State Fair is a happy memory. For one Wake Forest family, it’s a "terrifying tragedy" that continues to haunt their lives, according to a family friend.
Anthony Gorham, his wife, Kisha, and her 14-year-old son, Justen Hunter, were all getting off the Vortex ride when it unexpectedly started, throwing them and other passengers into the air. Their niece, Shykeyma Dempsey, was also injured on the ride.
The Gorhams each underwent several surgeries and intensive rehabilitation after the Oct. 24 incident. While Kisha Gorham and her son have been discharged from the hospital, 29-year-old Anthony Gorham remains hospitalized.
“He's progressing,” said Nakeisha Sprull, Kisha Gorham's college roommate and family friend. “At this point, that’s what they’re focusing on … We just know that God is a healer and that Anthony will be healed from this.”
Anthony Gorham suffered injuries to his brain, skull, neck and spinal cord, according to the family’s website.
Prior to the incident, both of the Gorhams made a living as social workers. They have since lost their incomes and are battling mounting medical bills. Justen’s father has organized a website that aims to raise $10,000 to help the family with the costs. As of Wednesday, $1,209 had been donated.
“If there is a silver lining, it’s that you really see the goodness in people,” Sprull said.
Justen has since returned to Wake Forest High School, and Kisha Gorham is busy taking care of her two young daughters, who were not at the fair the night of the incident.
“She's just trusting God through this storm and knowing that it's just a storm and she'll be through it in a little while,” Sprull said.
Ride owner Joshua Macaroni and ride operator Timothy Tutterow have been charged with assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident. Both are out on bond. The Vortex ride is still at the fairgrounds and is still being treated as a crime scene by the Wake County Sheriff's Office.
Sprull says the Gorhams are not focused on the arrests.
“This is not something that happens every day, and it’s not something that we can live in fear and we can't go anywhere because something bad is going to happen to us,” Sprull said.