Vortex owner now paying for security around ride

The state is no longer footing the bill to guard the ride that injured a family during the State Fair.
January 15, 2014 6:47:46 PM PST
The state is no longer footing the bill to guard the ride that injured a family during the State Fair.

Officials with the State Fair told ABC11 Wednesday that the Vortex's owner is now paying the bill for the security detail around the ride. Those same officials could not say when the ride would be moved off of the fairgrounds.

It was Oct. 24 when the Vortex suddenly restarted as riders were trying to get off the ride. People were picked up and dumped onto the ground.

The most seriously injured was a family of four. Three of them are now home recovering from their injuries, but the father is still in the hospital apparently in a coma.

Last week, investigators said they were finally finished examining the ride and told the owner, Joshua Macaroni, that he could take it away.

Macaroni has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Ride operator Tim Tutterrow faces the same charges.

A prosecutor says Macaroni ordered Tutterrow to block the view of inspectors as he used "jump wires" to by-pass safety systems and keep the ride operating.

State officials say Macaroni couldn't immediately get a crew to Raleigh to remove the ride, but agreed to pay the $400 a day for a guard.

"They, you know, still would like to have somebody watching that ride. I can understand that.  It is very visible out there and it's been there for a while," said N.C. State Fair spokesman Brian Long. "I imagine they want to, you know, make sure it is reasonably protected while it's still here."

State fair officials say the ride is a painful reminder of the tragedy here and that's why they hope it will be gone fairly soon.

In the meantime, the local family injured on the ride is still trying to raise money for medical bills on a special website.

A fundraiser has been set up for their mounting hospital bills.

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