Investigators in Yuba County are investigating a car accident at a Petaluma Speedway that killed two people, according to KFMB-TV. Chase Johnson, 17, lost control of his car on a dirt track and slid into a pit row on March 16, according to Yuba County Undersheriff Jerry Read. The car slid into the car’s owner, 68-year-old Dale Wondergem, and the driver’s 14-year-old cousin, Marcus Johnson. Both men were pronounced dead on the scene.
The sheriff’s department is looking into cause of the accident. Some witnesses reported that the car’s detachable steering wheel came off just before Johnson lost control while taking warm-up laps around the track.
“It’s shaping up to look like a mechanical failure, but there’s still work to be done,” Read said. A thorough investigation should clear up some of the issues here and identify the specific factors that contributed to this horrific accident. Were there any safeguards in place to protect a person in the pit lane from a car that slides off the track?
Ron Lingron, the track announcer, noted that almost all of the racecars have detachable steering wheels but said it is “extremely rare” for them to come off while driving.
“It’s a very, very freak accident,” Lingron said. “When the steering wheel comes off, you have no control over a car going 90 miles per hour.”
It may be worth noting that this is the second fatal crash at the track in last three years. In 2010, another driver was killed in an accident. If this accident was the result of a faulty part or a maintenance failure, the parties responsible for those aspects of the vehicle could be liable for the deaths this crash caused. If you sustained serious injuries or a loved one was killed in an accident caused by a mechanical failure, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our San Diego wrongful death lawyer today to schedule a free consultation.
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego wrongful death attorney