Internet fundraiser seeks money for NC State Fair ride victims
by WNCN Staff
A photo purportedly showing 39-year-old Kisha Gorham, 14-year-old Justen Hunter and 29-year-old Anthony Gorham. (Rahsaan Hunter/YouCaring.com)
RALEIGH, N.C. -
A man who says he is the biological father of a teen injured on a ride at the North Carolina State Fair last month has set up a fundraiser for his son's family.
A man identifying himself Rahsaan Hunter set up a YouCaring.com fundraiser for the Gorham family, who he said was injured last month when a ride called the Vortex began moving while riders were being off-loaded.
"The Gorham family attended the N.C. State Fair in hopes of some wholesome family fun. However, instead they became victims of a horrific tragedy," the page explains.
The man identifies himself as the biological father of 14-year-old Justen Hunter, whom he said was among those injured on the ride.
The page says Justen's mother, 39-year-old Kisha Gorham, was also injured, as well as the teen's step-father, 29-year-old Anthony Gorham. The Gorhams' niece, Shykeyma Dempsey, was also injured on the ride, the page indicates.
"The extent of their injuries were very severe, including brain, skull, neck and spinal injuries," the page explains. "The road to physical and mental recovery will be very long and rocky for the family."
The page further explains that Kisha and Anthony will need to "undergo several surgeries and intensive rehab in order to overcome this ordeal."
An initial fundraising goal of $10,000 was established to help with the family's "medical bills, care and other expenses."
WNCN could not reach Rahsaan Hunter for comment.
On Oct. 24, five people sustained injures at the N.C. State Fair when the Vortex ride jolted into motion as people were exiting.
Eyewitnesses estimated that riders were dropped from as high up as up to 30 feet, and an EMS source said all five were initially unconscious, but three regained consciousness.
One of the injured suffered serious head injuries. Another victim had injuries similar to a concussion, according the EMS source.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the victims were between the ages of 14 and 39, and Harrison confirmed some of the victims are family members.
Deputies arrested ride operator Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Quitman, Ga., two days after the accident and charged him with three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury.
Tutterrow, who is employed by an independent ride contractor, is suspected of tampering with the ride, Harrison said.
Joshua Gene Macaroni, who owns the ride, was also charged in the accident. He was charged Nov. 6 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 is employed by Family Attractions Amusement Company, who said "it has an excellent equipment safety record and has never before experienced an incident with any of its rides like this one."
However, according to the Amusement Safety Organization, between 2004 and 2011, the company had three safety incidents in Georgia involving rider injuries.
Both Macaroni and Tutterrow are out on bond, but are expected to make court appearances Dec. 18.
The Vortex remains at the State Fairgrounds where investigators told WNCN it is expected to remain through the investigation.