An airshow and monster truck rally turned into a disaster as a monster truck crashed through a crowd of onlookers, killing eight and injuring 79 others Saturday in the city of Chihuahua, Mexico.
Video obtained by the Associated Press shows the truck, nicknamed “Big Show”, driving over and crushing two small cars, then making a second attempt at a higher speed, sending the vehicle into the air and back down to the ground on its front grille. The truck then landed violently on its wheels and veered into the crowd surrounding the event. Scores of onlookers were struck by the out of control monster truck, as there were no barriers or walls protecting the crowd.
Witnesses told police that the driver of the truck, Francisco Velazquez, appeared to hit his head on the interior of the truck. Some recalled seeing Velazquez’s helmet coming off as the truck lost control, and suggested that he may have been knocked unconscious. “The driver hit his head and his helmet flew off,” said 18 year old Daniel Dominquez, whose sister and mother were both struck. “The truck came directly at where we were.” His sister was rushed into surgery for injuries sustained to her legs, and his mother was treated for minor contusions.
“I fell over, and when I turned around I saw the tire very close,” added 41 year old Manuel Ibarra, who suffered injuries to his arm and hip. “It hit me and threw me to the other side.” In total, eight onlookers were killed, and another 79 injured. Twelve of those injured remain in intensive care, and four are in critical condition, says Chihuahua Governor Cesar Duarte Juarez.
The three-day “Extreme Aeroshow” event, which included an airshow, other monster truck shows, and other events, was immediately canceled following the accident, and an investigation into the cause incident was launched. Governor Juarez, who declared three days of mourning, also announced that his administration will look into whether or not the Civil Protection authorities correctly followed safety regulations, though no comment was made about protective barriers being included in the regulations.
Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state prosecutor’s office, said that investigators are looking into the possibility of a mechanical failure in the truck which may have prevented Velazquez from being able to release the gas pedal. On Sunday, Francisco Velazquez was also detained by police on suspicion of manslaughter charges after alcohol was detected on his breath at the scene, though it was not made clear if his blood alcohol content was tested to be above any legal limits.
As an event spectator, if you’ve been injured in an incident such as this, you may have the right to pursue legal action. Depending on the circumstances that led to your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation, which a personal injury lawyer can help you recover in full. At AA Accident Attorneys, we will defend your rights, and help you back onto your feet as quickly as possible. Call us today!