A week ago, Raleigh news outlets were filled with stories about the five North Carolina State Fair goers injured in a ride accident.
Now, outlets are carrying the story of the arrest of the 46-year-old ride operator on three felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury.
The Wake County Sheriff said an inspection of the ride indicated that safety features “were compromised” and that the ride had been tampered with.
Five people were hospitalized last Thursday after riding the Vortex. Three of the five remain hospitalized, according to reports.
Officials have not yet commented on the extent of the injuries or the conditions of those hospitalized. Those injured range in age from 14 to 39, police said.
The 14-year-old is among those still hospitalized, as is the 39-year-old. A 29-year-old man also remains in WakeMed Hospital, where all the injured were taken.
The sheriff said the ride operator is distraught over the injuries. According to the ABC Raleigh outlet, the man’s “thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were hurt.”
The sheriff declined to give details on the alleged tampering. However, he did say it seems likely that additional arrests will be made in the case.
The operator is an employee of the company that owns the Vortex; the ride is the company’s only one at the fair.
Witnesses said some of those on the ride were thrown from the Vortex as it came to a stop Thursday. It appeared that the ride’s safety bars were not operational at the time.
People interviewed by the TV station said they had witnessed problems with the ride the night before, but no one had imagined things would go so terribly wrong.
In the wake of the accident, one 911 caller told a dispatcher that “the ride broke loose and five people fell from straight from the sky; 20 feet drop.”
In similar cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help protect a defendant’s rights and conduct an investigation into what was done and why it was done to help protect the defendant’s liberty.
Source: ABC 11, “Ride operator arrested in North Carolina State Fair ride accident,” Oct. 29, 2013