Local News

Off-road race crash injures former Stem resident

Posted August 16, 2010

— A weekend accident at an off-road race in the California desert killed eight spectators and injured 12 others, including a 20-year-old woman who grew up in Stem.

Elizabeth Davis was in intensive care Monday after surviving the accident caused when a truck went out of control and hit a crowd lining the course.

“The driver that lost control was a friend of hers, and she was there with some other friends to see him race,” said Christina Forester, Davis' sister.

Two of Davis' friends standing with her Saturday at the California 200 race were killed, Forester said. The two sisters talked by telephone Monday.

“She was crying on the phone and in pain,” Forester recalled.

Davis suffered broken bones, abrasions and underwent surgery.  She doesn't remember much about the crash, according to her sister.

“I'm thankful that she is going to live,” Forester said.

Elizabeth Davis Stem woman injured at California 200 race

Forester and other relatives say they are angry and think the crash could have been prevented. They say something needs to be done to make off-road vehicle events safer.

“I was just surprised there wasn't even netting up saying, 'Don't go past this point,' and why couldn't they have done something to keep people away from that area,” Forester said.

Her family says Davis is a fighter. She survived a small plane crash as a child and survived a drive-by shooting when she was pregnant.

As she recovers in a California hospital, Davis' family is trying to gather enough money to send her mother out there for support.

“I need to be by my daughter's side. She's cried for me, she's yelled for me,” said Junnie Archer, Davis' mother.

Davis's family says she doesn't hold a grudge against her friend, Brett Sloppy, 28, of San Marcos, Calif., who troopers said was behind the wheel of the truck involved in the crash.

Officials said Sloppy wasn’t hurt and that it wasn't yet clear why he lost control of the truck.


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  • rusnick Aug 18, 2010

    Desert racing is some of the most exciting racing there is. We have traveled from NC to CA, NV, and AZ to 3 times in the last 18 months to race out there. Plus, I have raced in the last 2 Baja 1000's in Mexico. These races are like nothing most of us here on the East coast have ever seen. Multi-million dollar race teams have helicpoters that chase the race cars while they race to the low budget guys who still race stock VW bugs. NASCAR is big here, but imagine a race where the machines/drivers must last hundreds of miles in the most brutal conditions....and YOU get to watch with out paying an entry fee!! My kids love the races and the personalities of the sport. With that said, you have to pay attention out there and respect the promoters rule of "150 ft" from the race course. I wish a speedy recovery to all involved, and my deepest condolences for the families of the deceased. Usnick Motorsports

  • teamlc Aug 18, 2010

    Bet Bet or Lily Bet is what we call her. As a child she was so sweet and caring. Always thinking of others and helping out when she could. She is a fighter. She is a daughter of Valley Center and is from San Diego County not from where this article says she is from. She is bright and fun to be around. This is an unfortunate accident. Lily bet always enjoys life. She will make it. Please pray for and keep her in your thoughts. We love you Bet Bet. Uncle Bob and Aunt Whoyeah...

  • aj6 Aug 17, 2010

    it is amazing how the news organization will dig for the smallest connection to the local area and try to make it news.

  • pinball wizard Aug 17, 2010

    Sorry to hear about her injury. As others have said, you have to assume responsibility for standing so close to trucks running flat out thru the desert and over jumps.

    I would imagine you would be safer if you stood in the breakdown lane of I-40 at rush hour.

  • mgratk Aug 17, 2010

    Terrible she was injured, but let's also remember the spectators that were too close were responsible for their own actions. Personal responsibility.

  • whocares Aug 17, 2010

    Did anyone see the spectator who ran across the track just as one of the vehicles was coming? That person needs to be put in a home for the extremely stupid. What most people don't realize is that the drivers are running on dirt and dust is flying and they cannot see the truck in front of them much less spectators. I am sure this was not a sanctioned race where safety is the first concern. People need to engage their common sense at one of these events.

  • Hammerhead Aug 17, 2010

    gwbrowni, you might note that most of the west is either desert or mountainous, that's why there are fewer trees. Totally different climate in the west. Now, if you go to the northwest, from northern California to Seattle, there are as many trees as here.

  • RedStatesManWatts Aug 17, 2010

    "she survived a small plane crash when she was little and a drive by shooting when she was preggo... wow, this chick has like 9 lives.... praying she will pull through!!"

    She must be Wondergirl! Geesh! God will get her through this as well. Yes, praying she will pull through!

  • littlebobeep Aug 17, 2010

    People want to see so they keep inching forward to get past the person in front of them. Before you know it the drivers are going down an ever narrowing tunnel. Happened to me at an informal drag event many years ago (on a bike). I refused to run because I value my life.

    Prayers though to those there were injured or killed.

  • Tired Of Excuses Aug 17, 2010

    What was suppose to be a fun and exciting event turned into a tragedy. The sad thing? People make bad decisions that affect the rest of their lives and put themselves in situations that often have bad outcomes without thinking of the consequences.
    When I saw how close people were to the trucks and able to reach out and touch them I thought...that's just stupid.
    Another sad thing is that this weekend people will gather for another event like this bring their children and say stupid things like, "Look Bobby, try to touch the trucks when they come by."
    What adults do is one thing but when it involves a child that's where I draw the line.
    Anyone who brings a child to something like this should be charged with child endangerment, neglect and the child removed from the home so that the stupid parent can't inflict more stupidity and bad judgement on the child. Period.