by: MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press Updated:RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)strong>
(AP) — Family members of three people critically injured in a ride mishap at the North Carolina State Fair say they face a long road to recovery.
Anthony Gorham, Kisha Gorham and their 14-year-old son were tossed off the Vortex ride on Oct. 24 when the machine suddenly lurched into motion as they were trying to get off, flinging them through the air. The ride's owner and operator each face three felony assault charges after investigators say key safety equipment was tampered with.
Authorities have been tight-lipped about the Raleigh family's condition, but a website seeking financial help for the Gorhams describes severe injuries including brain, skull, neck and spinal trauma. It does not go into specifics.
Family members say they will require several surgeries and intensive rehabilitation, leaving the couple unable to work. In addition to the injured teen, the Gorhams have two other young children.
Also injured in the mishap, though less seriously, was the Gorhams' niece.
A Thanksgiving Day message attributed to Kisha Gorham said she is thankful for any help.
"This event will forever have a lasting impact on the physical and mental health of my family," Gorham said on the website. "My husband, my children, my niece and myself are trusting in God for the strength we need to turn our tragedy into triumph."
Rahsaan Hunter, who said he is the injured boy's biological father, is listed as the organizer of the fundraising effort.
"The road to physical and mental recovery will be very long and rocky for the family," he said on the website. "The days ahead will be extremely difficult."
Hunter, who lives in Wake Forest, did not immediately return a phone message on Friday.
The family's attorney, Donald Watson, confirmed to The News & Observer of Raleigh that the fundraising effort is legitimate. He could not been reached for comment by AP.
As of Friday afternoon, more than $5,000 had been pledged to help the family.
Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow and Joshua Gene Macaroni, both of Quitman, Ga., are each charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of felony assault on a juvenile with a deadly weapon. Both are free on bond.
Tutterrow was operating the Vortex. Macaroni's family business owns the ride, but he was not present when the injuries occurred. Defense lawyers for Tutterow and Macaroni said they never intended for anyone to get hurt.
The company that owns the ride, Family Attractions Amusement Co., of Valdosta, Ga., has hired a Raleigh law firm to defend any lawsuits filed over the injuries.