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When spectating things like this, understand the risk...

Eight killed in desert off-road race in California - Motor News - FOX Sports on MSN


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

The crash came shortly after the start of the California 200, a Saturday evening race in the Mojave Desert, said San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.


TRAGIC SPORTS DEATHS
Sports has lost many athletes way too soon. We list a few.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, which began at about 8 p.m. It had just gone over a jump known as "the rockpile" about two miles into the race, and he said he watched the truck sail through the air. Then he turned to watch for other vehicles 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, dust swirling in the meek light of the setting sun. Spectators rushed to the truck and about half a dozen people flipped it upright to try to help at least one person pinned underneath.

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 the Mojave Desert's Soggy Dry Lake Bed near the city of Lucerne Valley, 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.
 

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Read about this story this morning. Tragic.

I definitely think part of the responsibility lies in the hands of the organizer, for not ensuring that something could go wrong, or that the track is designed properly. I feel bad for the driver, can't imagine the horror.

We'll see how the investigation unfolds.
 

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I think in part it's both the organizers and the spectators fault. Sucks but your at risk every sporting event common sense needs to factor in to people decisions.
 

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The crowd grew unruly and started throwing rocks at the driver... and forced him to run off...

I'm speechless at the stupidity there. I understand being in shock, but to blame the driver because you got hurt standing at the landing of a desert truck doing 100mph in the air, you have to be insane.
 

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had the crowd been about 20 feet back, this story would not be here. or so i was told from a trailer of one of the teams
 

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I don't blame the driver at all. It's common knowledge that accidents occur a lot at these off-road events. To stand that close is just asking for trouble. Nonetheless, RIP to all involved.
 

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The crowd grew unruly and started throwing rocks at the driver... and forced him to run off...

I'm speechless at the stupidity there. I understand being in shock, but to blame the driver because you got hurt standing at the landing of a desert truck doing 100mph in the air, you have to be insane.
Dead on statement!!!!

I have never understood why in desert races or in rallying your allowed
to stand on or right next to the track.

You would think people would have learned their lesson in the Groupe b rally series in 1982 when so many people died standing on the track.....
That's why group B, A.K.A. Killer B's were banned.

Can you imagine being allowed to stand on the track in F1 or Moto G.P.?
 

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RIP.

I can't begin to imagine the mental state of the driver. Even though the crowd was dangerously too close, the guilt of his conscience must be unbearable.
 

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The crowd grew unruly and started throwing rocks at the driver... and forced him to run off...

I'm speechless at the stupidity there. I understand being in shock, but to blame the driver because you got hurt standing at the landing of a desert truck doing 100mph in the air, you have to be insane.
That's unbelievable, the driver must be going through hell right now and that's just a ridiculously stupid thing to do.

RIP to all those involved.
 

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RIP.

I can't begin to imagine the mental state of the driver. Even though the crowd was dangerously too close, the guilt of his conscience must be unbearable.
That driver will have nightmares about this for the rest of his life. Horrible tragedy for all involved.
 

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The crowd grew unruly and started throwing rocks at the driver... and forced him to run off...

I'm speechless at the stupidity there. I understand being in shock, but to blame the driver because you got hurt standing at the landing of a desert truck doing 100mph in the air, you have to be insane.
I couldn't believe either that the crowd threw rocks at the driver. Fellow enthusiasts and fans turned on what they came to see. How do you police 200 miles of desert with people who want to be close to the action. I bet if they were told to move they would've moved back close as soon as whoever left. When you're in the middle of the desert common sense keeps you alive.
It's sad that this happened and my wishes for all those involved.
 

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There has been a lot of misinformation about all of this perpetuated in the media. The driver fleeing the scene, rocks being thrown at him, it being a drag race, and on and on. I know the driver, and a few of those that have been injured. He absolutely did not flee the scene, rocks were not thrown, nothing like that whatsoever.

It was an accident, and I've been at that race, and watch at that exact spot every year. I didn't go this year because my site was sponsoring 3 trucks in the race, and I figured that would be enough exposure, and I'd take the year off.

I personally was not there, but most, if not all of my good friends were there, RIGHT THERE. They have echoed the same sentiments, it was the most horrific thing they have ever, and will ever experience in their lives. I've had some very graphic conversations with good friends over the last 24 hours. It's beyond depressing.

Just keep those affected in your thoughts guys. We are raising money right now to help those families that have been struck by this unfortunate event.

-Markus-
 

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Markus, the story of the rocks being thrown was on the Yahoo newsite yesterday morning. I wasn't trying to stir up rumors.

Keep us up to date on what happens. I can only imagine being there and seeing the carnage.
 

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Oh no man, I didn't think you were stirring it up at all. It's what every news outlet is reporting, so I understand how everyone thinks that.

-Markus-
 

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i think we can all agree that this is tragic, no matter who is at fault

RIP to all of those who lost their lives
 

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Dead on statement!!!!

I have never understood why in desert races or in rallying your allowed
to stand on or right next to the track.

You would think people would have learned their lesson in the Groupe b rally series in 1982 when so many people died standing on the track.....
That's why group B, A.K.A. Killer B's were banned.

Can you imagine being allowed to stand on the track in F1 or Moto G.P.?
well said, my thoughts and prayers go out to one and all.
 
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