01:51 - Source: CNN
Ride operator charged

Story highlights

More arrests are possible, sheriff says

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow is charged with assault with a deadly weapon

He was operating the Vortex ride at the N.C. State Fair

Three of those injured remain hospitalized

(CNN) —  

A ride operator has been charged with three felony counts of assault after several people were hurt on the Vortex at the North Carolina State Fair, a sheriff’s office said Saturday.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, a 46-year-old from Quitman, Georgia, faces felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

“After inspection of the ride, we determined that it had been tampered with and critical safety devices were compromised,” Harrison said.

Witnesses said the ride had stopped Thursday night and people were getting off when it restarted, resulting in five injuries.

CNN affiliate WRAL reported that three of those hurt were still hospitalized at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh as of Sunday. The two victims have been released.

A ride attendant – not Tutterrow – was among the injured, though it wasn’t clear whether he was among those still in the hospital this weekend. The victims included family members between the ages of 14 and 39.

According to the sheriff’s office, Tutterrow is an independent ride contractor for a company that only had one ride at the fair: the Vortex.

More arrests in the incident are possible, said Harrison, who added that the investigation is ongoing.

Dolores Quesenberry a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Labor, said operators are supposed to perform system checks three times a day during the fair and record the results in a logbook provided by the state.

The 10-day fair ends Sunday.