8 dead, 12 hurt at California 200: Prerunner truck flies into crowd
An off-road race in California went off the tracks Saturday night, when a truck plowed through a crowd, killing eight people and injuring a dozen others.
The California 200, part of a series held in Soggy Dry Lake near the city of Lucerne Valley in the Mojave Desert, became a nightmare for race fans as dust and darkness masked the tragic accident.
“There was dust everywhere, people screaming, people running,” David Conklin, a photographer covering the event for off-road magazines, told The Associated Press.
The crash occurred around 8 p.m. PDT, when the driver of a Prerunner truck lost control around a turn known as the “rock pile,” the Los Angeles Times reports. It is a section of the dirt track that often sends vehicles into the air.
“He got airborne and when he landed, rolled over straight into the spectators,” said Officer Joaquin Zubieta of the California Highway Patrol. “People didn’t have much of a chance… to get out of the way.”
It was some time before rescue crews arrived, because of the remote location of that section of the track, the newspaper reports.
Six people died at the scene, and two others passed away at the hospital. Seven ambulances and 10 emergency aircraft responded to the scene. Most of the injured were airlifted from the area.
“When I got up to the vehicle I could tell that several people were trapped. There were just bodies everywhere,” Conklin said. “One woman with a major head wound (was) lying in a pool of blood. Someone else was crushed beneath the car.”
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.
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