Suspect in state fair incident cooperating, has bond lowered
RALEIGH — A thrill ride operator is cooperating with investigators probing a mishap at the North Carolina State Fair that left several people hurt, authorities said Monday.
A judge reduced Timothy Dwayne Tutterow's bond from $225,000 to $100,000 at the request of Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby, who said the 46-year-old "has been cooperative and helpful with the investigation."
"We've sat down and talked to him," Willoughby told the judge.
Tutterrow, of Quitman, Ga., has been in jail since his Oct. 26 arrest. He was operating the Vortex ride last month when it suddenly spun into motion as people were trying to get out, flinging several patrons through the air and seriously injuring three people.
Willoughby said one of those injured remains hospitalized "in very serious condition," nearly a month after the accident. The two others have been released, including a 14-year-old whose name and gender have not been disclosed.
Tutterrow and ride owner Joshua Gene Macaroni, 32, are each charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of assault on a juvenile with a deadly weapon.
Macaroni, also from Quitman, was not present when the injuries occurred. He is free on $225,000 bond and was not required to appear in court Monday.
Wake County Sheriff's investigators have said the ride was tampered with to bypass critical safety equipment, but authorities have not yet disclosed any details of what roles they believe Tutterrow and Macaroni played in the mishap.
Willoughby again declined to speak further about the case Monday, including just what assistance Tutterrow has provided. He was seen visiting the ride with detectives after the fair ended, appearing to show them how the machine worked.
Tutterrow's lawyer, Roger Smith Jr., says his client would never have intentionally harmed anyone but has declined to discuss details of the case.
"Every time I go to see him over at the detention center, his first concern is only about the families that were injured on the ride," Smith said.
Macaroni's lawyer, Dan Boyce, says the ride owner plans to plead not guilty and expressed confusion as to why his client is charged.
As a condition of their bonds, Tutterrow and Macaroni are required to have no contact with one another pending trial.
The next court hearing in the case is set for Dec. 18.