A lawsuit was recently filed against the owners and operators of an amusement park ride that seriously injured a family of four at the North Carolina State Fair this fall. According to ABC 11 News, the lawsuit is seeking $150 million in damages.
Reports say that in October, a family of four was injured while exiting the Vortex ride at the North Carolina State Fair in October. Anthony and Kisha Gorham, Justen Hunter and Shykema Dempsey were all injured when the ride started unexpectedly.
A lawyer representing the family said that Anthony Gorham suffered the worst of the injuries including severe brain and spinal cord injuries as well as a loss of vision in at least one eye. Gorham remains hospitalized. Estimates from the family’s attorney say Gorham is already facing at least $500,000 in medical bills and will never be able to function normally again.
An investigation conducted shortly after the accident led to the arrest of ride operator Tim Tutterrow for tampering with the ride’s safety mechanism. The ride owner Josh Macaroni was later arrested and charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
The lawsuit filed by the family lists the owner of the Vortex, Family Attractions Amusement and fairgrounds operators Powers Great American Midways.
Family Attractions Amusements issued a statement on Thursday expressing sorrow for the tragic accident. The statement also distanced the family-run company from the accident saying they are not the owner of the Vortex and denied accusations the ride had been rigged to increase revenue.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) conducted a study of amusement park ride accidents from 1997 to 2004. In that time period, there was an average of 2,500 injuries each year involving mobile amusement rides. Fixed-site rides accounted for an additional 3,400 injuries each year. Both mobile and fixed-site amusement rides were involved in an estimated four fatalities each year.