BLM Admits Rules Not Followed in Deadly Off-Road Race
Emergency crews attend to victims of the off-road truck crash. (KTLA-TV / August 15, 2010)
- Photos: Eight die when California 200 racer loses control
- More Video Surfaces of Deadly Desert Race Crash, Carolyn Costello Reports
Deadly Racing Crash -- Who Is At Fault?
Who should be at fault for the deadly off-road racing crash in the Mojave Desert?
Race organizers (585 responses)
Land owners/managers (36 responses)
Spectators (1148 responses)
Driver (68 responses)
No one (237 responses)
2074 total responses
(Results not scientific)
This poll is closed to voting.
- KTLA: Victims of Lucerne Valley Truck Show Accident Mourned
- KTLA: Another Off Road Race Planned at Site of Deadly Truck Crash
- San Bernardino (San Bernardino, California)
See more topics »
A ranger assigned to patrol the area did not monitor the 200-mile race, and BLM staff in the Barstow, Calif., field office did not adequately prepare for the event with promoters, an internal review found .
BLM declined to name the ranger or the staff members responsible for permitting the event, citing privacy laws.
Appropriate personnel actions were being taken, the agency said without specifying.
BLM Director Bob Abbey said the agency had taken steps to improve oversight of recreational events, including providing adequate staffing and requiring more oversight to ensure that its employees are complying with agency rules.
"My clear directive is: if our field offices cannot fulfill or complete all the required steps in authorizing this event, then no permit will be issued," Abbey said in a statement.
The Aug. 14 tragedy occurred amid fans partying close to the race course.
Video posted on the Internet showed spectators standing within feet of the sand track as competitors sped over a jump.
One truck smashed into the crowd and ended up on its roof.
The BLM said since the accident, it has authorized more than a dozen off-road events with appropriate law enforcement and management staff oversight.
The agency said it has denied four permits "due to inadequate advance time and close adherence to permit procedure requirements."
Race promoter Mojave Desert Racing had a BLM permit for the event which required racers to travel 15 mph or less when they were within 50 feet of fans, and allowed no more than 300 spectators for the event, the agency said.
About 50,000 people attended the annual race held in the Mojave desert area of San Bernardino County.
Some witnesses said they got within 4 feet of the unmarked track, watching trucks fly over a series of jumps at times reaching speeds of 100 mph.
The accident occurred when an out-of-control pickup truck went airborne and slammed into a crowd of spectators during the California 200 off-road race around 7:48 p.m. Saturday.
Witnesses say the driver of the pickup -- identified as 18-year-old Brett M. Sloppy, of San Marcos -- lost control just after going over a jump known as "the rockpile" about two miles into the race.
The vehicle then plowed into spectators who were watching the race.
The crowd, which included children, was standing within 10 feet of the track with no guard rails separating them from the speeding vehicles.
Witnesses say it happened so fast the victims didn't have a chance to get out of the way.