8 Dead, 12 Injured At California Desert Race

 

 
 
 

ANDREW DALTON, Associated Press Writer | | Sunday, August 15, 2010


VIDEOS

Multimedia Thumb

Eight Dead In California Race

Truck went airborne into the crowd.
more >





LOS ANGELES - An off-road truck plowed into a crowd and scattered "bodies everywhere" moments after sailing off a jump at a California race Saturday, killing eight people and leaving 12 injured, authorities and witnesses said.
 

The crash came shortly after the start of the 8 p.m. PDT race called the California 200, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman. Bachman said eight people died and 12 were injured, several of them seriously. Seven ambulances and 10 emergency aircraft responded to the scene. Most of the injured were airlifted from the area to Loma Linda University Medical Center or St. Mary's Medical Center.

"There was dust everywhere, people screaming, people running," David Conklin, a photographer covering the event for off-road magazines, told The Associated Press. 

Conklin said the Prerunner truck was among the first 20 off the line in the race, and had just gone over a jump known as "the rockpile" about two miles into the race.
 

He said he watched the vehicle sail through the air. Then he turned to watch for other cars when he heard the commotion caused by the crash.

"When I got up to the vehicle I could tell that several people were trapped. There were just bodies everywhere," he said. "One woman with a major head wound (was) lying in a pool of blood. Someone else was crushed beneath the car."

The truck came to a rest upside down with its oversized wheels pointing toward the sky.

Officials said the driver wasn't hurt but had to flee the scene to escape angry spectators.

The 200-mile race is part of a series held in Soggy Dry Lake Bed near the city of Lucerne Valley in the Mojave Desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Tens of thousands of people attend the California 200, in which a variety of off-road vehicles take jumps and other obstacles and reach speeds up to 100 mph on the 50-mile off-road course. The race had been scheduled to last through the night.

The crowd was standing within 10 feet of the track with no guard rails separating them from the speeding vehicles.

"There were no barriers at all," Jeff Talbott, inland division chief for the California Highway Patrol, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

He said that the driver, who wasn't named, was forced to run from the scene when the crowd grew unruly and some began throwing rocks at him. It was not clear why he lost control of the truck.

The CHP does not normally investigate crashes at organized races, but took the lead on this probe because of its scope and had set up a command center at the starting line of the race.

The federal Bureau of Land Management was assisting in the investigation.

The event was sponsored by the South El Monte-based Mojave Desert Racing. No one picked up the phone at a number listed on the group's website early Sunday, and its message mailbox was full.

The crash was the latest in a series of race accidents that have proved deadly to spectators.

A car plowed into a crowd that had gathered to watch an illegal drag race on a suburban road in Accokeek, Maryland, in February 2008, killing eight people and injuring five. The two racers were charged with vehicular manslaughter. Darren Bullock, 22, was sentenced to 15 years in prison; Tavon Taylor, 20, is awaiting trial.

In Chandler, Ariz., in February, a female spectator was killed by a tire that flew off a crashing dragster at Chandler's Firebird International Raceway for the NHRA Arizona Nationals.

In Selmer, Tennessee, a dragster went out of control and smashed into spectators during a fundraising festival in June 2007, killing six people and injuring 22. Driver Troy Critchley, 38, was convicted of misdemeanor reckless assault charges and sentenced to 18 months probation.

___

AP Radio correspondent Shirley Smith in Washington contributed to this report.
 



Related Links:


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Eight Dead In California Race


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, mass casualty

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

The Evolution of Civilian High Threat Medical Guidelines

How mass killing events have proven a need for new guidelines.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting, EMS Audio

Edited audio from the Parliament Hill incident.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Illinois Ambulance Service on Chopping Block

Peoria Heights EMS depends on property tax vote.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Kentucky Firefighters, Medics Drill for Ebola

Lexington firefighters and medics prepare for possible patients.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Mid-South EMTs Prepare for Ebola

Mid-South EMTs are certified for service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Shooting Incident

Solider is shot by gunman at national memorial in Ottawa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Life Link III Trauma Tactics Conference in Minnesota

Conference was designed to enhance the skills of providers of all levels, covering rescue and prehospital situations, to transport and in-hospital treatment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

EMS Tailgating

Rigs converted for football.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >