Seven Dead In Charity Tragedy

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Seven Dead In Charity Tragedy

Post by banditshideaway » Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:42 pm

Sourced from news reports in USA

Seven dead in charity tragedy

Drag car crashes into crowd at charity event
Seven killed, including two teenagers
Driver in emergency ward, organisers apologise

SEVEN people have been killed when an out-of-control drag car crashed into a crowd of spectators at a children's charity event in Tennessee.

Police said at least 15 people were being treated in hospital after the horrific incident in the town of Selmer, which was captured on amateur video broadcast by Memphis network WMC-TV.

The video showed the modified race car spinning its wheels to generate clouds of smoke before tearing down a strip of road lined with hundreds of spectators.

The driver lost control and crashed into the crowd at a section of the highway where there was no safety barrier, said Mike Browning, spokesman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

"I can confirm seven fatalities, including two minors aged 15 and 17," he said.
The town's police chief was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "Bodies were flying into the air when it happened".

A witness who said he was only metres from the spectators who were hit, said: "It ain't really safe to do anything with drag cars on a city street. They shouldn't have done it".

Another spectator said: "There should have been guard rails, but even if there had, it wouldn't have mattered".
An impromptu memorial has been set up as locals placed candles, flowers, crosses and a teddy bear at the scene to mourn those killed.

Police had no information on the identity or condition of the driver, Mr Browning said. Authorities have not said whether or not they were looking at charging the driver.

A spokesman for the body which sanctions drag races in the US said the car was driven in competition by Troy Critchley - but he did not know if Critchley was driving it at this event.

The body later said the driver was a 20-year veteran of drag racing and that road conditions had caused the loss of vehicle control, AP reported.

The accident took place during an annual "Cars for Kids" charity day, which raises money for disadvantaged children. Drivers were performing "exhibition burns" in which they smoke their tyres on a road before tearing off down a track.

Cars for Kids, which holds similar events across the US which raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, said on its website: "The loss is deep within our hearts and we will carry the scars of each loss forever".

Kay White, who works at a nearby restaurant, told AP she heard the crash, followed by sreams and cries for help.
"The best way I could describe the crowd's reaction was like the people from 9/11. They were just walking around with a blank, distant stare," she said. "You could tell they were ... wondering what had happened."
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