Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Witnesses describe horrific scene of California 200 crash that killed eight

August 15, 2010 |  9:34 am

Witnesses to the crash at the California 200 off-road race near Lucerne Valley that left eight dead described a chaotic scene where the victims had no chance to flee from the out-of-control car that plowed into fans.

Jeff Musgrave, an off-roader from Orange County who was watching the race, called it a gruesome scene, but defended the driver.

"All I saw was the dust, and then I saw about 30 people on the ground. It was just brutal,’’ Musgrave, 43, told The Times. “The problem is the crowd was just too close. I don’t think the [racer] did anything stupid. He just hit it way too hard."

The accident occurred Saturday night as a large crowd watched the race. CHP officials said the driver's car went airborne and rolled right into spectators. Six spectators died at the scene. Nine others were airlifted to local hospitals, two of whom died later in the evening.

 A photographer at the race described a scene of devastation. "There was dust everywhere, people screaming, people running," David Conklin told the Associated Press. "When I got up to the vehicle, I could tell that several people were trapped. There were just bodies everywhere. One woman with a major head wound [was] lying in a pool of blood. Someone else was crushed beneath the car."

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

-- Phil Willon in Lucerne Valley and Rong-Gong Lin II in Los Angeles

Photo: Spectators try to console each other after the California 200 crash. Credit: Associated Press


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

Spectators killed in California 200 race 'didn't have much of a chance,' CHP says

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