Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

January 25, 2014

Valdosta firm disavows ride from state fair mishap

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Georgia company authorities have described as owning the thrill ride that seriously injured three at the North Carolina State Fair is now trying to distance itself from the case and potentially shield itself from lawsuits.

A lawyer for Family Attractions Amusements, LCC, sent a letter to state officials last month asserting that the Valdosta company and owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni have no connection to the Vortex ride involved in the Oct. 24 problem that injured members of a Raleigh family.

The Dec. 13 letter was among public documents released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Labor, which is responsible for conducting safety inspections at the fair.

“Family Attractions not only does not own the ride that was involved ... but it also had no contract to provide the ride at the North Carolina State Fair, it was not compensated for the ride’s presence at the State Fair, and the individuals operating the ride were not doing so on Family Attractions’ behalf,” wrote Gregory W. Brown, the company’s Raleigh lawyer.

However, in the same letter, Brown said the company needed access to the Vortex, then being held in evidence and under guard. The lawyer also expresses concern that “inclement weather conditions may result in deterioration of the machine’s condition and its ability to operate.” The lawyers do not say who owns the thrill ride.

Brown did not immediately respond Friday to a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Joshua Gene Macaroni, who authorities say is the 32-year-old son of company owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni, faces three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury after prosecutors say he tampered with safety devices on the Vortex. Also charged is Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, who was operating the ride at the time the injuries occurred.

Anthony Gorham, Kisha Gorham and their 14-year-old son were tossed off the Vortex when the machine suddenly lurched into motion as they were trying to get off, flinging them through the air. The family says it has incurred massive medical expenses as a result their injuries, which will require ongoing care. They have hired a high-profile personal injury lawyer, but have not yet filed suit.

The letter from Family Attractions triggered a Dec. 17 response from Special Deputy Attorney General Victoria Voight, who expressed puzzlement at the Georgia company’s attempt to disavow any connection to the Vortex. She pointed out that documents filed with state officials prior to the accident list Family Attractions as the company operating the ride at the state fair, with Dominic Macaroni listed as the primary contact. Insurance records filed with the fair also list the company’s name as the policy holder.

“However, given that Family Attractions Amusements, LLC, has yet to clarify what it’s connection to the ride actually is, I fail to understand why its request to access the ride should be given any special consideration,” Voight wrote to Brown.

In addition to the paperwork Voight cited, the documents released this week suggest connections between Family Attractions and the Vortex. A handwritten receipt for a $90 inspection fee on the machine was paid over the phone using a credit card by “Ruby” at Family Attractions, a possible reference to Ruby Macaroni. Daily inspection reports and other materials investigators recovered from the cab housing the ride’s controls also have the Georgia company’s letterhead printed across the top.

On January 9, Voight issued notice to a defense lawyer representing Josh Macaroni that “the owner” of the Vortex was free to access and remove it. The message was copied to a lawyer at the firm representing Family Attractions.

Earlier this week, a crew of workers came to the state fairgrounds in advance of a winter storm to disassemble the hulking machine, hauling it away.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Today in History

    In 1800, Congress approved a bill establishing the Library of Congress.

    April 24, 2014

  • Michigan affirmative ban is OK, Supreme Court says

    A state’s voters are free to outlaw the use of race as a factor in college admissions, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in a blow to affirmative action that also laid bare tensions among the justices about a continuing need for programs that address racial inequality in America.

    April 23, 2014

  • ‘Piles and piles’ of bodies in South Sudan slaughter

    Gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left “piles and piles” of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in South Sudan, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official in the country said Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Obama_Stew.jpg Obama views mudslide scene

    Swooping over a terrain of great sadness and death, President Barack Obama took an aerial tour Tuesday of the place where more than three dozen people perished in a mudslide last month, then mourned privately with those who lost loved ones in the destruction.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wall Street_Stew.jpg Earnings and corporate deals lift U.S. stocks

    Corporate deals and some solid earnings reports propelled the stock market to its sixth straight gain Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Economy College Gradu_Stew.jpg Job market for college grads better but still weak

    With college commencement ceremonies nearing, the government is offering a modest dose of good news for graduating seniors: The job market is brightening for new grads — a bit.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supreme Court TV On t_Stew.jpg Internet TV case: Justices skeptical, concerned

    Grappling with fast-changing technology, Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can protect the copyrights of TV broadcasters to the shows they send out without strangling innovations in the use of the internet.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Today in History

    In 1791, the 15th president of the United States, James Buchanan, was born in Franklin County, Pa.

    April 23, 2014

  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results