Raceway Tragedy Could Lead To Change In Regulations
Posted August 25, 2003 5:57 a.m. EDT
ZEBULON, N.C. — No one will face criminal charges in a deadly accident at a local race track.
A young mother died and nearly 20 spectators were hurt at Five County Raceway earlier this month. The tragedy could lead to changes in the way small-town tracks are regulated.
When this modified Jeep drove out of a Franklin County mud pit and into a crowd of spectators, Candace Brown died, and several others were hurt.
District Attorney Sam Currin called it a tragic accident, but not a crime.
"If there is no criminal statute that has been violated, I can't prosecute," Currin said.
Currin said his staff researched labor, insurance and motor vehicle statutes. But they found nothing that relates to fan safety.
"It does include and protect employees of the race track," Currin said. "But it does not protect spectators."
Currin said the driver will not be charged because mechanics ruled the throttle on the jeep stuck. Plus, the small amount of alcohol in the driver's system was consumed after the accident.
Although no criminal charges will be filed, that does not stop the families from filing lawsuits. Hugh Williams, the raceway owner, said he had liability insurance to cover the Mud Sling.
The county has filed misdemeanor charges against the owner after repeated warnings to stop running the mud races without a permit.
Now, the community hopes to learn from the tragedy. Currin said that means looking out for fans.
Considering what has happened, Currin said he hopes a law is enacted that would protect spectators.
State Sen. A.B Swindell represents Franklin County. He said he also is concerned about spectator safety. But he said he wants to speak with Currin before considering any changes in the law.