RALEIGH - The Georgia company authorities say own the thrill ride that seriously injured three at the North Carolina State Fair is trying to distance itself from the case.

A lawyer for Family Attractions Amusements, LCC, sent a letter to state officials last month asserting that the Valdosta, Ga., company and owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni have no connection to the Vortex ride involved in the Oct. 24 problem that injured members of a Raleigh family.

The letter is among documents released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Labor, which is responsible for conducting safety inspections at the fair.

"Family Attractions not only does not own the ride that was involved ... but it also had no contract to provide the ride at the North Carolina State Fair, it was not compensated for the ride's presence at the State Fair, and the individuals operating the ride were not doing so on Family Attractions' behalf," wrote Gregory W. Brown, the company's Raleigh lawyer.

However, in the same letter, Brown said the company needed access to the Vortex, then being held in evidence. The lawyer also expresses concern that "inclement weather conditions may result in deterioration of the machine's condition and its ability to operate." The lawyers do not say who owns it.

Joshua Gene Macaroni, who authorities say is the 32-year-old son of company owners Dominic and Ruby Macaroni, faces three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury after prosecutors say he tampered with safety devices on the Vortex. Also charged is Timothy Dwayne Tutterrow, 46, who was operating the ride at the time the injuries occurred.

Anthony Gorham, Kisha Gorham and their 14-year-old son were tossed off the Vortex when the machine suddenly lurched into motion as they were trying to get off, flinging them through the air. The family says it has incurred massive medical expenses as a result of their injuries, which will require ongoing care. They have hired a high-profile personal injury lawyer, but have not yet filed suit.