Off-road truck plows into crowd in California, killing at least 6

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At least six people were killed when an off-road race truck plowed into a crowd in southern California on Saturday night, authorities said.

The six were pronounced dead at the scene around 7:48 p.m. local time (10:48 p.m. ET), said Tim Franke of the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

Four more were transported to hospitals via air ambulance in serious condition. Five others were transported with minor to moderate injuries.

Eight air ambulances and several engine companies responded to the scene.

The race was in the Lucerne Valley area of San Bernardino County, Franke said

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

It's always sad when something like this happens.
But to me the above quoted part would be the biggest part of the problem. In any form of racing you have a chance of a vehicle leaving the track. Why let spectators get so close without barriers?
 
What a complete and utter tragedy. What's worse is that it was completely avoidable. I don't ever want to see any deaths ever due to a motor sport event.

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.


This shows just how completely ignorant this crowd was. No barriers + next to the track and then they get mad at the driver...brilliant. Mob mentality at it's worst. Even if the driver screwed up he is not at fault for these people dying because it is completely unreasonable to expect a driver to go full tilt AT NIGHT with absolutely zero wiggle room. I think the crowd and the race organizers ought to be held responsible here. But, knowing the way things go in this silly country of ours the driver and his sponsors will be sued in short order.
 
It's awful that this happen but really it's not all that surprising. On those wild crash shows and I forgot the name of the other show on versus but you see cars going into crowds a lot in off-road/rally/etc racing where there are basically no barriers.

The crowd has to take some responsbility for their actions as well, if you are going to stand that close next to trucks going that fast then you should know there is going to be a chance that something like this would happen. To attack the driver shows how stupid the majority of these people really are. The driver is going to have to leave with the guilt for the rest of his life.

It's an overall sad situation.
 
What a complete and utter tragedy. What's worse is that it was completely avoidable. I don't ever want to see any deaths ever due to a motor sport event.




This shows just how completely ignorant this crowd was. No barriers + next to the track and then they get mad at the driver...brilliant. Mob mentality at it's worst. Even if the driver screwed up he is not at fault for these people dying because it is completely unreasonable to expect a driver to go full tilt AT NIGHT with absolutely zero wiggle room. I think the crowd and the race organizers ought to be held responsible here. But, knowing the way things go in this silly country of ours the driver and his sponsors will be sued in short order.

Yep, anyone remember the Accokeek disaster?
 
California Patrol: Driver in deadly race crash will not face charges

The driver of a truck that crashed into a crowd of spectators in a California desert, killing eight, will not face criminal charges, a spokesman for the highway patrol said on Monday.

Four people were also taken to hospitals in serious condition after the Saturday crash at an off-road race in Southern California's Mojave Desert. Five others suffered minor to moderate injuries.

"It was a tragic accident," said Mario Lopez, a California Highway Patrol spokesman. "The reason we are not going to file criminal charges is because it was a sanctioned event."

Full story here..... http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/08/16/california.racing.deaths/index.html?hpt=T2
 
I'm glad he wasn't charged. Did you see the people when a truck would go by, they'd get in the path and start moving back when they heard another one coming? That's just stupid.
 
Stupid ass morons. Stand 10 feet from a car race and bad **** happens.

World's full of them. Everywhere. It's not just those off road fans either. Heck, every NASCAR track has a buffer next to the catch fence that has to be protected by security to keep dumb ass fans from hanging on the fence.
 
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