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Ride operator arrested after five hurt at North Carolina State Fair

(Reuters) - The operator of a carnival ride at the North Carolina State Fair, where five people were hurt when the attraction suddenly restarted as passengers exited, has been arrested after a probe revealed the ride was tampered with, officials said on Saturday.

Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, of Georgia, faces three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury, said Brian Long, a North Carolina State Fair spokesman.

At least three people remain hospitalized after the incident on Thursday, including a 14-year-old, according to a statement by the state fair.

The pendulum ride, called the Vortex, which spins and flips passengers upside down, was "tampered with," West County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said in the statement.

"Critical safety devices were compromised," he said without providing additional details.

More arrests may be made and an investigation of the incident is continuing, Harrison said.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Peter Cooney)