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Vortex owner, operator indicted on assault charge

Posted December 17, 2013
Updated December 18, 2013

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— The owner and the operator of The Vortex ride were indicted Tuesday on assault charges in connection with the incident that left five people seriously injured at the North Carolina State Fair.

Joshua Gene Macaroni, 32, of Quitman, Ga., the owner of the ride, and Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, who was operating the ride, each face three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury.

The Vortex had stopped Oct. 24 and riders were getting off when it unexpectedly started to move again, flinging some riders 20 feet or so onto a metal deck.

The investigation revealed that a safety mechanism designed to keep the ride from moving when the restraint bars weren't locked in place had been disabled, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Dan Boyce, a Raleigh attorney representing Macaroni, expressed confusion when his client was arrested and promised to work with law enforcement to determine how their investigation led them to believe that the ride owner was somehow responsible for what he called "this terrible tragedy."

People close to the investigation said the ride appeared to have been tampered with as a shortcut to expedite how easily people could get on and off the ride.

The Vortex is run by Georgia-based Family Attractions Amusement Co., but Macaroni, the son of the company's founder, owns the ride. 

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  • soapbox Dec 18, 2013

    "DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves says he has been in law enforcement for 45 years, but did not understand when I said that the defendant should have waived their right to a Grand Jury Indictment." - A person

    First of all, DontVote4 is a woman.

    Secondly, she did not say she was in law ENFORCEMENT. She says she worked in law for about 45 years. Could have been a lawyer's office or some other aspect of law.

    Third, in every post mentioning a Grand Jury, DontVote4 says "no less than 14 members" or "at least 14 sworn lay citizens." Apparently your magic number of 16 is not hard & fast.

    Reading is fundamental. Reading carefully is even better.

    "Strange how someone makes a statement they know nothing about them (sic) feel that they are an authority on the matter." - A person

    No kidding! If I ever face a Grand Jury (god forbid) I hope you're not on it!

  • A person Dec 18, 2013

    DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves says he has been in law enforcement for 45 years, but did not understand when I said that the defendant should have waived their right to a Grand Jury Indictment. Having been the Foreman of the Grand Jury of Wake County, I have found many flaws in your posts. First, the grand Jury s 16 people in NC, of which 12 must vote for indictment or the indictment fails. It can be reintroduced to other grand juries at a later date. Strange how someone makes a statement they know nothing about them feel that they are an authority on the matter. Also, being incarcerated for 45 years does not mean you worked in the judicial system

  • WakeForestLiving Dec 18, 2013

    Good for Wake County Prosecutors! Too many times the owners are able to get of responsiblities, letting the peons take the rap.

  • scubagirl2 Dec 17, 2013

    while the accident wasn't intentional, the disabling of the safety features certainly was. The owner most definitely should also be charged, ESPECIALLY if the operator was following instructions-which seems entirely plausible and believable.
    They are also trying to make an example of these guys so this kind of stuff doesn't happen as easily/frequently/etc in the future.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Dec 17, 2013

    ProzacDispenser - "if the ride owner is found not guilty the DA should be fired for frivolous lawsuits and wasting taxpayer dollars. can i be on this jury"

    Just the DA?

    The Grand Jury, a panel of at least 14 citizens, indicted them both you know.

    I wish you could be on a jury too. I know you'd learn a great deal, cause it sounds like you have a great deal to learn about the law.

  • LuvLivingInCary Dec 17, 2013

    if the ride owner is found not guilty the DA should be fired for frivolous lawsuits and wasting taxpayer dollars. can i be on this jury

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Dec 17, 2013

    Plus, let me ask some of you this.

    If you mess up at work while you're on the clock and someone is injured or dies, because you're on the clock, LEGALLY your boss is just as responsible as you are you know, and so is the company if a lawsuit is ever filed.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Dec 17, 2013

    "Who turned the features off? The operator, the owner, the transporter, the ticket taker, the D/A, the police, etc. YOU DON'T KNOW!!!!!"

    We DO know. It's been published and announced on the news repeatedly.

    smh

  • Rebelyell55 Dec 17, 2013

    Well ain't that something?

  • Geez Louise Dec 17, 2013

    "Who turned the features off? The operator, the owner, the transporter, the ticket taker, the D/A, the police, etc. YOU DON'T KNOW!!!!!"

    --So you're suggesting that we all just throw our hands up in the air and say you-know-what happens??

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