RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY -

Prosecutors say the owner of a thrill ride tampered with the machine prior to an October mishap at the North Carolina State Fair that seriously injured three patrons.

Wake County Assistant District Attorney Howard Cummings said during a court hearing Friday that Joshua Gene Macaroni asked an employee to stand behind him to block the view of state inspectors as he rewired an electrical box on The Vortex. The extra wiring allowed the ride to operate while safety restraints weren't locked in place.

Macaroni and ride operator Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, both of Quitman, Ga., were each formally indicted Tuesday on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury. They were arrested after the Vortex suddenly lurched into motion Oct. 24 as riders were trying to exit.