Bystander injured at Weber demolition derby

Monday , August 11, 2014 - 3:21 PM

OGDEN — In the riotous clash of metal on metal during the Weber County Fair’s sold-out demolition derby Saturday, one female bystander got a little too close to the action.

Sgt. Lane Findlay, public information officer for the Weber County Sheriff’s Office, said the unidentified victim was injured during the popular event’s first heat, immediately treated by on-scene paramedics and then transported from the arena for treatment of a possible fracture.

Reached Monday, Mike VanAlfen — owner of Roy-based Intrepid Motorsports, the derby’s producer — said the woman was checked out at an area hospital and only needed stitches.

According to Findlay, bleachers for pit crews and family members were set up immediately outside the main arena, but some individuals had moved off of the bleachers to stand up against the railing. Just inside the railing, huge hay bales were laid down to act as a buffer, but a quick chain reaction crash caused a car to hit a hay bale, ram the railing and run into the woman.

“It’s always a concern. They have security on the floor to help regulate the race,” Findlay said, noting that the accident caused about a half-hour delay in the derby’s action and spectators were reminded to stay off the rails.

“They brought in some additional hay bales and put them on the two ends of the track where people seem to congregate,” Findlay said.

Findlay said he knows of no other audience injuries in the Weber derby’s 20-some-year history at the Golden Spike Events Center.

At Delta on July 4, a man was struck and killed by a car in an accident at a demolition derby, according to the Associated Press. Millard County sheriff’s deputies said Robert Steele, 50, of Nephi was serving as a derby official when the accident occurred during a heat. Investigators said one of the cars in the derby was struck by another and went over a dirt berm and hit Steele. He was taken to Delta Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Saturday’s Weber derby lasted 3 1/2 hours, including the half-hour delay. A total of 33 vehicles participated, VanAlfen said, some of which can be repaired to do battle again in the future.

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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