According to August 15 statements from authorities and witnesses, an off-road truck flew off of a jump and hurtled into a crowd at a race in the California desert, pinning bodies beneath it and sending others flying in a crash in which eight people were killed and 12 suffered personal injuries.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said that the accident took place shortly after the twilight start of the California 200 on the night of August 14 in the Mojave Desert.
Witnesses say the driver took a jump in a section called “the rockpile” at high speed, braked upon landing, and overturned sideways, barreling into a crowd of hundreds of people standing with no barriers beside the course.
Eyewitness Matt March said that he and several other fans lifted the truck, which ended up with the oversized wheels pointing skyward, and discovered four unconscious persons underneath.
The San Bernardino County coroner said that at least seven of the deceased were in their 20s.
The deceased were identified as 24-year-old Fillmore, California resident Zachary Freeman, 24-year-old Ventura, California resident Dustin Malson, 27-year-old Escondido, California resident Brian Wolfin, 23-year-old Escondido resident Anthony Sanchez, 25-year-old Escondido resident Aaron Farkas, 20-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada resident Danica Frantzich, and 22-year-old Riverside, California resident Andrew Therrin. The eighth victim’s identity has not yet been released.
Authorities say six of the victims died at the scene and the other two were pronounced dead at the hospital. Seven ambulances and 10 emergency helicopters responded to the scene.
The crowd was standing within 10 feet of the track at the time. Fans say “the rockpile” is a popular area because they can get close to cars as they go airborne and there are no guardrails to hold them back.