Fair ride owner released after surrendering on assault charge - WRBL

Fair ride owner released after surrendering on assault charge

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Josh Macaroni was released on a $225,000 secured bond. Josh Macaroni was released on a $225,000 secured bond.
Josh Macaroni turns himself in to authorities in Wake County on multiple charges. Josh Macaroni turns himself in to authorities in Wake County on multiple charges.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The owner of the ride on which five people were injured at the North Carolina State Fair surrendered to authorities on multiple charges Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Wake County Sheriff's Office issued a warrant for the arrest Joshua Gene Macaroni. He is charged with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, and one count of felony assault on a juvenile with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Macaroni, who is the son of Family Attractions Amusement Company owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni, turned himself in to authorities Thursday evening. He was released on a $225,000 secured bond.

In a statement, Macaroni's attorney said the family is "puzzled as to why Josh was charged."

"We look forward to working with law enforcement so we can learn their theory on why Josh is somehow partly responsible for this terrible tragedy," Dan Boyce said.

On Thursday, Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said investigators had probable cause to charge Macaroni.

"If somebody tampers with something, then they knew something wasn't right," Harrison said.  "If you ride down the road and your tire runs off, that's just one of those things. But if you knowingly, somebody knowingly takes the lugs off your tire, then I've got a problem with that."

According to industry trade magazine Amusement Today, Macaroni is the owner of the Vortex ride and works for Family Attractions Amusement. Five people were injured on the Vortex on Oct. 24 when the ride began moving while it was being offloaded.

"The ride had stopped and they were fixing to offload when it started off again. That is the preliminary report," Harrison said.

Deputies previously arrested ride operator Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., on Oct. 26 and charged him with three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, Harrison said.

Tutterrow, who is employed by an independent ride contractor, is suspected of tampering with the ride, Harrison said.

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

Officials with the state Labor Department declined to offer further explanation of the tampering and the overall investigation.

Boyce said Macaroni has no reason to believe that Tutterrow "did anything to intentionally injure the State Fair visitors who were on the ride."

Family Attractions Amusement Company said "it has an excellent equipment safety record and has never before experienced an incident with any of its rides like this one."

However, according to the Amusement Safety Organization, between 2004 and 2011, the company had three safety incidents in Georgia involving rider injuries.

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