Raleigh, N.C. — Tywan Newell and his wife were working in the wee hours of Monday morning, part of the team that would disassemble the North Carolina State Fair, when disaster struck. Working nearby, Newell's brother, Anesto, became trapped when a seating compartment of a ride fell on him.
"All I saw was this yellow hoodie laying on the ground and I said, 'Oh no, that's my brother,'" said Tywan Newell. "When I got there, the ride was on top of his body."
Anesto Newell was working on a ride called The Vortex, a name it shared with another ride where five people were injured earlier in the fair run.
Tywan Newell worried first for his brother, who suffered a broken back, pelvis and leg, and then he thought of their mother, Jean Quartey, who was already at WakeMed with heart complications.
He described rushing to his brother.
The ride was crushing him, Tywan Newell said.
"I said, 'Anesto, are you OK?' He said, 'No, no.' I said, 'No, I don't mean your body physically. I mean are you going to live through this situation?' In my mind I'm thinking, 'What am I going to tell my mother?'"
Anesto was taken to WakeMed where he had surgery and was in critical condition in intensive care Tuesday morning.
When Quartey learned that her son had joined her in the hospital, she reacted in anger.
I'm mad," she said. "'Cause it shouldn't have happened. It shouldn't have had to have happened."
Tywan Newell agreed.
"I expect everybody to be safe, at least until you bring it down," he said.
Family members said Anesto Newell had six years' experience in disassembling rides, but they would like to see Powers Midway, the ride operator, add more safety measures or worker training.
Powers did not respond to a request for a statement Monday evening.
Brian Long, spokesman for the NC State Fair, said it had not yet been determined what cause the ride to fall on Newell.