Son of Vortex ride owner pleads not guilty in North Carolina State Fair accident


Joshua Macaroni, 32, faced a judge Friday morning. He's facing the same charges as the operator accused of tampering with the Vortex ride, which sent five people to the hospital.

Macaroni left the talking to his lawyer, who only gave a short statement. A full two weeks after the accident, no one is eager to talk about it --not  the state, investigators, or even the victims, at least one of whom, we're told is still at the hospital and in bad shape.

"At this point and time, we intend to plead not guilty to each and every charge," said Macaroni's defense attorney, Dan Boyce.

Macaroni is the son of the couple who own the ride that went haywire two weeks ago.

Like the ride operator, 42-year-old Tim Tutterrow, Macaroni is facing three felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

A spokesperson for the company that owns the ride, Family attractions, out of Georgia, told us Macaroni wasn't here during the fair, and investigators won't say how they think he was involved.  It was a point Boyce made clear.

"He's been given no factual basis for the charges against him," said Boyce.

However, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby says they had good reason to arrest Macaroni.

"He's charged because of his actions, not because of who he is or some sort of vicarious liability," said Willoughby.

Willoughby wouldn't say any more about it, or talk much about the victims still in the hospital. They are a Wake County family that's requested privacy. He did say at least one person, the father, is in bad shape.

"It's very serious," said Willoughby.

Willoughby told ABC11 that he's been contacted on behalf of the family by the law firm of well known personal injury lawyer Willie Gary.

There could also be a lot of money on the line as well. An insurance agreement between the state and the company that manages rides at the fair, Powers Great American Midways, is a $10 million policy.

State officials say Powers subcontracted the Vortex from Family Attractions, but no one from the Department of Labor, which is responsible for ride safety would talk with ABC11 Friday.

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