The Press Enterprse | JOHNSON VALLEY: $5.8 million tentative settlement in fatal off-road race crash (UPDATE)
A nearly $6 million tentative settlement has been reached in a Mojave Desert off-road race crash that killed eight spectators in 2010, an attorney said Wednesday, Dec. 18.
The Bureau of Land Management and race organizers and promoters, represented by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office and private attorneys, on Tuesday agreed to pay $5.825 million to settle a consolidated case after eight people were killed and 12 injured while watching the 2010 California 200, a summer night race in Johnson Valley east of Victorville.
The crash rocked the tight-knit community of off-road racing.
The settlement, which was reached on behalf of 34 plaintiffs, must still be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to attorney Katherine Harvey-Lee and BLM spokesman Stephen Razo.
“I know there was a lot of concern and even some outrage in the off-road community that this lawsuit would eliminate the sport or take all the fun out of it,” said Harvey-Lee, a plaintiff’s attorney at a law firm representing the father of Zachary Freeman, who was killed, and three others who were injured.
“I think what this showed was that the government — the BLM — recognized that there is a proper level of supervision and that there are safety procedures that can be followed that ensure that everybody can still have a good time, but prevent terrible injury and even death,” she said.
Originally, 15 lawsuits were filed after a modified Ford Ranger truck flipped Aug. 14, 2010, as its driver lost control and crashed into a crowd watching vehicles jump in an area dubbed the Rock Pile.
Among the dead was Andrew Therrien, 22, of Riverside.
Survivors and family of those who died contended that spectators shouldn’t have been allowed to be that near the track and proper fencing wasn’t in place to keep them away. The suits claimed organizers negligently managed the race and didn’t follow established safety practices.
The race organizers and promoters, known as Mojave Desert Racing, could not be reached for comment.
Full story (long article), PE.Com
Endnote: A judge is expected to decide how to disperse the money in March 2014. Posted by b. hunter.
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