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8 dead, 12 hurt as vehicle plows into crowd at race in San Bernardino County [Updated]

August 14, 2010 | 11:10 pm

Map: Officials confirmed that eight people died and 12 were injured in the Lucerne Valley area Saturday when the driver of an off-road vehicle plowed into a crowd.

Officials confirmed that eight people died and 12 were injured in the Lucerne Valley area Saturday when the driver of an off-road vehicle plowed into a crowd.

Authorities believe the driver lost control of the vehicle during some type of race at a dry lake bed. [Updated at 12:00 a.m.: The accident occurred at the California 200 race, one of a series of local offroad matches in the area.]

Fire dispatch supervisor Tim Franke said the accident was reported at 7:48 p.m. at Soggy Dry Lake Bed, a popular off-road spot. "It's unknown what kind of event was going on out there," he said.

Franke said at least four people were seriously injured and were taken by air ambulance to nearby trauma centers.

He said it was not yet clear how the accident occurred or whether the driver was among the injured or dead.

The Lucerne Valley and surrounding desert areas is considered a mecca for off-road racing, with numerous pro races through the year. Videos of previous races show vehicles speeding by rows of spectators, with thin barriers between them.

[Updated, 12:32 a.m.: The California 200 night race in the Lucerne Valley area, off Bessemer Mine Road, was promoted by MDR Productions of South El Monte. A flyer listed on a website indicated that fees to enter the race ranged from $200 to $440.

According to the website, the race was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., and involved four 50-mile laps, with a time limit of 7-1/2 hours.  A registration list showed that 87 drivers had registered for the race.]

--Mitchell Landsberg and Rong-Gong Lin II in Los Angeles and Phil Willon in San Bernardino County

Related:

Driver in California 200 crash says he is 'devastated'

 California 200 and other races foster dangerous 'Mad Max' atmosphere, critics say

Driver in California 200 crash identified by authorities

3 Escondido men among 8 killed in California 200 crash
 
California 200 tragedy: Past race videos show spectators dangerously close to racing vehicles

Witnesses describe horrific scene of California 200 crash that killed eight

Updated, 6:10 a.m., 8/15: Spectators killed in California 200 race 'didn't have much of a chance,' CHP says

Updated, 9:34 a.m., 8/15: Witnesses describe horrific scene of California 200 crash that killed eight

Earlier: Off-road vehicle plows into crowd

Map: Location of Soggy Dry Lake Bed, where officials confirmed Saturday that eight people died and 12 were injured in the Lucerne Valley area Saturday when the driver of an off-road vehicle plowed into a crowd.

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