State Fair ride provider says he's lost sleep, not spoken with victims
Posted October 31, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — One week after five people were injured on a ride at the North Carolina State Fair, the owner of the company that provided the rides says he has lost sleep over the incident and hasn't been able to talk with the victims or their families.
"My biggest concern is the family. I hope they all get through this OK," said Corky Powers, who owns Powers Great American Midways, based in New York.
Powers, along with state inspectors, were in Wilmington on Thursday, preparing for the next fair – the Cape Fear Fair & Expo – which opens Friday. But Raleigh's incident wasn't far from their minds.
"Let's talk about the 800-pound gorilla in the room," Skip Watkins, manager of the Cape Fear Fair, told reporters during a media briefing Thursday. "The general public here knows our fair. We have the fullest faith and confidence. That was an isolated incident with a company not affiliated with this group."
That company, Family Attractions Amusement Co. LLC, was a subcontractor Powers' company hired to provide the Vortex, the ride the five people were on when they were injured.
Powers says it was his first time working with Family Attractions Amusement Co., adding that all of his employees, including his subcontractors, are drug tested.
Vortex ride operator Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., faces three counts of assault with a deadly weapon in the case. District Attorney Colon Willoughby and Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison have both said that there is a possibility of someone else being charged.
Witnesses said the Vortex had stopped and riders were beginning to disembark when the ride started up again and flung some riders to the ground. Three people remain at WakeMed, recovering from their injuries.
As of Thursday, the Vortex was still in Raleigh, behind a chain-link fence, as law enforcement continued to investigate.