Ohio fair incident brings back painful memories for family injured at NC State Fair

KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) – The tragedy at the Ohio State Fair hits especially close to home for one Wake County couple.

Anthony and Kisha Gorham were seriously injured at the North Carolina State Fair in October 2013.

“I don’t think it’s ever really going to be over because Tony, my husband, is going to be on seizure medication the rest of his life,” Kisha Gorham said.

They were trying to get off the Vortex ride when it started back up forcing them to fall off the ride. Three others were also thrown from the Vortex.


“My body, my left side is not working the way it is supposed to. Just thinking, period. And learning new things. I learn something but then I may forget some of it,” Anthony Gorham said.

Anthony suffered brain, skull, neck and spinal cord injuries.

He’s blind in one eye.

Kisha Gorham has PTSD.

When they heard about the events unfolding in Ohio they were heartbroken.

“I keep wanting to say I can only imagine what they’re going through but I don’t have to imagine because we’ve lived through it. It hurts,” Kisha Gorham said.

In the Gorhams’ case, the operator of the Vortex that night, Timothy Tutterrow, pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Investigators say five people were thrown from the Vortex ride because Tutterrow tampered with the machine.

He was sentenced to probation after serving 22 days in jail.

The owner of the ride, Josh Macaroni Macaroni entered an Alford plea, which allows a defendant to plead guilty while maintaining their innocence. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail followed by five years probation. He also had to pay a $22,500 fine plus $225 in court costs.

RELATED: Vortex ride owner pleads guilty to obstruction of justice in fair ride incident

Since the October 2013 incident, North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation to strengthen laws against ride tampering. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the legislation into law in July 2015.

The Gorhams said more needs to be done to make rides safer.

“Some are passing inspection and they have malfunctions with the rides a little bit and they still make it where they can pass inspection,” Anthony said.

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