Local News

Franklin Commissioners Revoke Permit Of Racetrack Owner

Posted October 19, 2004 7:15 a.m. EDT

— Commissioners in Franklin County voted on Monday to shut down a racetrack where a woman was killed last year.

In August 2003, a modified Jeep careened through a mud pit at Five County Raceway, plowed through a fence and into a crowd, killing spectator Candace Brown.

Eighteen others were hurt, including Brown's 2-year-old daughter.

County planners said racetrack owner Hugh Williams' permit is only good for go-cart racing and that he violated it.

Williams said the permit covers all types of vehicles.

"I understand the Browns' feelings and respect that, but I still have legal documents that this board and this county gave me," he said.

"He had an unfortunate, tragic accident there and I don't think, by any means, that was intentional," Commissioner Henry Foy said.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to revoke Williams' permit. They said a big influence was the fact that adjacent landowners gathered more than 600 signatures protesting the raceway.

"No one is for him anymore. The neighborhood is tired of it," opponent Kirk Smitherman said. "The bottom line is that it does not belong where it is. A commercial racetrack does not belong in a neighborhood."

Williams said his permit is legal and that he will take the fight to court. He also said he may open a similar track in Vance County, where a permit for the so-called mud sling races is not required.