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Monday
Oct282013

North Carolina Fair Ride Operator Makes Court Appearance

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- The operator of a ride at the North Carolina State Fair appeared in court Monday on three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from an incident last week that injured five people.

Attorneys for Timothy Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., had asked for his $225,000 bond to be lowered, but a judge sided with prosecutors who said the ride operator lives out of state and could be considered a flight risk.

As of Sunday night, three people remained in a Raleigh hospital in good to critical condition, including a 14-year-old boy, three days after the Vortex suddenly started up as riders were trying to exit. Eyewitnesses reported seeing passengers thrown off the ride while others held on.

Investigators determined the Vortex had been tampered with and critical safety devices had been compromised.

Family Attractions Amusement, which supplied the Vortex for the annual fair, told ABC News in a statement, "It has an excellent equipment safety record and has never before experienced an incident with any of its rides like this one." The Vortex is the only ride the company had at the State Fair.

Tutterrow, who is a married father of two, has worked for Family Attractions Amusement Co. LLC of Valdosta, Ga., for four years, ABC News has learned.

Police have yet to release any known motive, and Tutterrow's attorney told ABC News his client is "devastated" and his "thoughts and prayers are with the families" injured at the fair.

Tutterrow's next court appearance has been scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. ET.

Authorities said the investigation was continuing and additional arrests might be made.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio