RALEIGH — Joshua Gene Macaroni, the second suspect charged in the Vortex ride accident that injured five people at the N.C. State Fair, turned himself in to Wake County authorities at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and posted $225,000 bail within hours.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office obtained arrest warrants Wednesday for Macaroni, 32, an employee of Family Attractions Amusement Co. of Valdosta, Ga. Investigators have charged Macaroni with two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury and one count of felony assault on a juvenile with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
Macaroni traveled to North Carolina from out of state to be arrested, according to a company spokeswoman. An arrest report lists him as a resident of Quitman, Ga.
Another employee of Family Attractions, Timothy Tutterrow, also is charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Tutterrow, 46, has been described as a ride operator, while Joshua Macaroni is listed on arrest records as a manager of the company.
Five people were hospitalized when the Vortex started moving as people were getting off the ride on the night of Oct. 24. Wake County sheriff’s investigators think that intentional tampering to keep the ride running disabled safety features that may otherwise have kept it from running while riders weren’t secured.
In a statement, Joshua Macaroni’s attorney said the Macaronis didn’t yet know the reason for their son’s arrest.
“We are puzzled as to why Josh was charged, but we look forward to working with law enforcement so we can learn their theory on why Josh is somehow partly responsible for this terrible tragedy,” wrote R. Daniel Boyce, an attorney for Nexsen Pruet.
He also wrote that Joshua Macaroni had “no reason to believe that Tim Tutterrow did anything to intentionally injure” the Vortex’s riders.
In such a case, an assault charge doesn’t mean investigators believe there was an intent to injure. Criminal negligence also can be the basis of assault and involuntary manslaughter cases, according to Jessica Smith, the W.R Kenan Jr. distinguished professor of public law and government at the University of North Carolina
“Ultimately, what they have to prove is a kind of recklessness or carelessness that shows a thoughtless disregard for the consequences,” Smith said, speaking about the law in general.
The Sheriff’s Office has not detailed how it believes Joshua Macaroni contributed to the incident. While Macaroni was released on bond, Tutterrow was being held at the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of $225,000 bail as of Thursday evening.
Three of the people injured by the ride, ages 14, 29 and 39, remained hospitalized at WakeMed as of last week. However, because of family members’ request for privacy, WakeMed officials are no longer disclosing whether the three people are at the hospital.