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Eight Killed in California Off-Road Racing Accident


Eight spectators were killed and at least a dozen injured in a car accident that occurred the night of August 14, 2010 after an off-road racer lost control of his vehicle in Johnson Valley. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, a driver of a modified 2000 Ford Ranger, participating in the California 200 race near Lucerne Valley, slammed into a crowd of spectators who were standing too close to the track. Out of the eight fatally injured victims, seven have been identified. They are – Zachary Freeman, 24, Dustin C. Malson, 24, Danica Frantzich, 20, Brian Wolfin, 27, Andrew Therrin, 22, Aaron Farkas, 25, and Anthony Sanchez, 23. The racer who lost control of his vehicle has been identified as 28-year-old Brett Sloppy. He has not been charged yet in connection with this crash. Officials do not believe alcohol or drugs were factors in this accident.

I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of these deceased victims for their tragic, untimely and heartbreaking loss. These grieving families will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers.

Debate about Safety Measures

This catastrophic accident has sparked off discussions both, among those who are avid off-roaders and others who criticize the sport. They are now talking about why the promoter of the 200-mile nighttime race allowed spectators to get so close. Many are also asking why the federal Bureau of Land Management allowed such an event to take place – especially one that presented an extremely dangerous environment where things could turn deadly in a fraction of a second, as it did Saturday night. No doubt, these events have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries or death to those watching and near the area.

Liability Issues

There are several questions that arise here. Did the organizer routinely allow the crowds of spectators, estimated to be in thousands, to gather so close to the race track? Why were there no fences or barriers? Were there paid security personnel to make sure the crowd was orderly? According to many news reports, California 200 races are run with volunteers who help with crowd control. Who is really accountable for public safety at these events? I trust local law enforcement as well as federal officials will look into these issues not only determine who was at fault in this case, but to look closely at what policy changes are need to avoid these horrible tragedies in the future.

Families of the deceased victims and seriously injured victims in this case would be well-served to consult an experienced California personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. Victims or their families would be well-advised not to sign agreements, talk to insurance adjusters or attorneys for other parties until they have discussed the case with their own lawyer.

What policy changes would you like to see in future off-road races? Would you go to such an event?

The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.

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