August 16th, 2010
10:18 PM ET

Federal agency to probe off-road race crash

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management will review Saturday's off-road race crash that killed eight spectators in Southern California's Mojave Desert, a spokeswoman with the bureau's California office said.

The bureau had issued a permit to the group running the California 200, in which a truck crashed into spectators along the course in the Lucerne Valley area of San Bernardino County. In addition to those killed, four people were taken to hospitals in serious condition, and five others suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Police have said no safety barriers were in the area where the crash occurred during the race, which was part of an amateur series sanctioned by Mojave Desert Racing.

In the crash area, the course had "no delineations to where the track begins and where the track ends," said Joaquin Zubieta, a California Highway Patrol spokesman.

On MDR's website, the group asks spectators to stay 100 feet from the course. Video from the night of the crash show trucks speeding within feet of spectators.

A copy of Mojave Desert Racing's permit, e-mailed to CNN by the BLM, says the permittee "is responsible for the safety of participants and spectators at the event with respect to the race/event course," and for "confining participating vehicles to the marked event course."

Read the "special stipulations" portion of the permit

The permit also stipulates that "all persons involved in … this event are to travel 15 mph, or less, when passing within 50 feet of any social group."

The driver of the truck that crashed told investigators Sunday that he reached speeds of 45 to 50 mph as he approached the jump where he lost control and crashed, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Mario Lopez.

MDR did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon about the crash and its rules for spectators.

The BLM's review "will cover all aspects of the event, and the program itself, as it relates to the permit," said Jan Bedrosian, spokeswoman for BLM's California state office.

The bureau also is cooperating with local and state law enforcement agencies, Bedrosian said.

Lopez said the driver will not face criminal charges. He said that California vehicle codes did not apply to the race because a permit was issued to the event's organizers, and that any safety violations would be investigated by the BLM or other agencies that handle permitted events.

The driver told investigators "he apparently lost control of the truck as it went airborne and landed," Lopez said.

- CNN's Stan Wilson, Jason Hanna and the CNN Wire staff contributed to this report.

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Filed under: California
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. iknowhowtospellunlikecnneditors

    the headline on the main page should say Probe. . . . . not prope. . . . who's editing the main page of this site a 3rd grader ?

    August 17, 2010 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Thomas

    Hoked on foniks werkd fer CNN.

    August 17, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. McDuff

    That a child is not among the dead is a story that is not being covered. There was at least one 3 year old at this race. It isn't like the press to ignore such an important aspect of this. Everyone who has seen these videos has to be asking what the heck was a three year old doing out there. Maybe his dad saved his life – but his dad certainly endangered his life also. Was there any relative out there with the father and the three year old when his father was killed? Interview mom or at least research her. What were the injuries to the other child who was treated at Loma Linda. The adults we can assume chose to be there but what about these children? Get on the story. That! is now the story.

    August 17, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. boomer

    Why are we spending money to have the feds investigate when it is so obvious what happened?

    August 17, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • jalynne

      They have to investigate, otherwise, these idiots WILL go out and do it again.

      August 17, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    I hope they look into the factor that photographer David Conklin might have played when he took a flash photograph right into the cab of the truck that wrecked "moments" before the crash. MSNBC featured and interview with Conklin and showed the picture. His flash lit the truck and cab up and could easily have blinded the driver. It is also obvious Conklin was very close to the truck when he took the picture. At dusk he probably blinded the driver temporarily.

    August 17, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Richard

    I worked for this agency. They issue these permits to any one and regulate the event. We were always told just watch and let the event happen. Then BLM got RANGERS, gun bearers, so now they can investigate, it will give them something to do. If you watched the video, you will see the people right on the course. THey were asking for it. I would watch these events and think these people are nuts, it has been proven.

    August 17, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. No boundaries?

    Seriously, there were no boundary markings? How would the drivers even know where to drive? Is there a rut they follow?

    August 17, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hank

    The BLM, like the NMS, has a culture of corruption. They can't regulate or invesitigate themselves. The review of this tragedy should be done by an independent auditor.

    August 17, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • granddad3

      @Hank: I agree with you that an agency other than -or in addition to the BLm should head a swift and accurate investigation into the entire issue. regardless, my condolences to the victims' families,

      August 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ApeHanger

    If anything needs investigation it is the stupidity of the spectators who were standing within a few feet of the trucks as they zoomed past. Loss of control is part and parcel of racing. If one is in the way of an out-of-control vehicle, death or serious injury is a certainty.

    August 17, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. fridgerapper

    well, it is a sinch the govt. gets in to make some dollars utilizing all their expensive lawyers...Obozo's "transparent" form of govt. has to make money doing something, don't all of u think? It is almost like giving speeding tickets to children riding their bicycles on sidewalks against oncoming pedestrian traffic. Most kids that live in the US migrating with their parents from Latin American countries never heard of the fact that sidewalks are for pedestrians and not cyclists.

    August 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Q-ball

      Did you actually read this article?

      August 17, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fridgerapper

    when idiots stand 10 feet (and not at least 200 feet away) from either side of a non-paved track (and even a paved one!), there is no grounds for any civil liberties including accidents that might happen! These morons deserved to be killed to keep them from sucking up good oxygen daily from our depleted atmosphere. Lawyers on this one need not even start to badger Mr. someone humorist in this chatroom said before is all a case of sloppy driving! Mr. Sloppy himself should walk scott free as there is no law trumped-up or otherwise that would make him guilty of anything except acceptable WRECKLESS driving, no slur against him should be applied. These idiots stood where they did and got killed for it all using their own WILL to be standing where they were!

    August 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fridgerapper

    Freedome to stand where u one wants to...sometimes SUX! HEHE???

    August 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. william ricky

    Asking the blm to make everything in the desert guarenteed safe is like asking the faa to guarentee flying small planes in alaska to be safe!

    August 17, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    The idiots are the people standing so close to speeding trucks.

    August 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Outraged

    The "FEDS" can't find their own as$e$ to DO ANYTHING. A WASTE OF TAXPAYER MONIES AND OUR PATIENCE.

    OH AND BY THE WAY...YOURE....paying for it,,How's that working out for those unemployed, with no health care, no food, NO REPRESENTATION...while the poli-ticians (many-bloodsuckers) SUCK your taxes dry and LIVE LARGE instead of being jailed for the criminals they are.

    August 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      I like my goverment,, I like the water, the roads and yes the schools. I like having industry regulated...could it be better, yes but I do not blame them for all the ills...

      August 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
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