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Ride operator arrested in connection to NC State Fair accident

"We have determined that this ride was tampered with after the inspection and that critical safety devices were tampered with and compromised," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. (Alison Blevins, WNCN)
"We have determined that this ride was tampered with after the inspection and that critical safety devices were tampered with and compromised," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. (Alison Blevins, WNCN)
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Updated: 10/27/2013 10:19 am
RALEIGH, N.C.  (WSOC) -- On Saturday night, police are vowing those responsible for an accident at the North Carolina State Fair will have their day in court.

Eyewitness News poured over the new information released at a surprise press conference on Saturday.

As the sun set on the NC State Fair, new revelations about the ride, called the Vortex, came to light.

"We have determined that this ride was tampered with after the inspection and that critical safety devices were tampered with and compromised," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Harrison said this comes after inspections with the Department of Labor.

On Thursday night, five people were injured on the ride.

The injured were trying to get off of the ride when witnesses said the ride started moving again and the people were thrown off.

"It was tampered with intentionally, probably to keep that ride operating," said Harrison.

Investigators would not go into what had been tampered with, only that ride operator, 46-year-old Timothy Tutterow from outside Valdosta, Ga., is suspected of the tampering.

"He will be charged with three counts, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury," said Harrison.

Authorities said their investigation is focused.

"This one ride is the only ride that this operator has at the state," said Harrison.

Channel 9 has learned it was brought to the fair by an independent contractor and has no connection to primary fair contractor Powers Great American Midways, based in Buurgaw.

The investigation is ongoing, and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said it will require patience to see it through.

"Just the thought that somebody would do something like this, I can't hardly stand it and that's where my patience runs thin," he said.
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