Sunday, December 5, 2021

Drag racers slam into spectators in Texas; 2 kids killed

kerville, Texas (AP) – A driver lost control during a Texas drag racing event on an airport runway and ran into a crowd of onlookers on Saturday, killing two children and injuring eight others, officials said.

A 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old were killed in an accident Saturday afternoon at an event called “Airport Race Wars 2” at Kerville-Kerr County Airport, police said in a news release. The event was attended by thousands and involved drivers speeding down a runway as they competed for cash.

“The driver lost control and left the runway, crashing into parked vehicles and striking spectators,” Kerville police said.

The injured victims were taken to various hospitals, including a 46-year-old woman, who was listed in a critical condition. Officials said most of the other injuries are not considered life-threatening, although the condition of a 26-year-old man was unknown. As a precaution, a 4-year-old boy and a 3-month-old girl were taken to the hospital.

Authorities did not immediately release the identities of the two children killed in the incident about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of San Antonio.

Kerville Convention and Visitors Bureau website Promoted the event as an “action-packed, family-friendly day” in which fans could “watch the fastest drag cars compete for over $8000 in total prizes.”

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According to Louis Amestoy, a freelance journalist present at the event, more than 3,500 people were in attendance.

The race was the eighth of a mile (0.2 kilometres) long, and plastic barriers filled with water lined the course. But Amestoy said he did not push past the finish line, leaving no protection between spectators and the cars as they slowed towards the end of the race.

Spectators could reach within about 15 feet (4.6 m) of the track, and many watched the race from lawn chairs in the absence of a stand. Amestoy told the Associated Press in a phone interview that organizers reminded people to stay in the grass and stay off the asphalt.

Amestoy said the driver was near the end of the strip when the car overturned.

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Associated Press writer Brian Gallian contributed to this report from Roseland, New Jersey.

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